By 2050, almost 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas and there will be more young people growing up in cities than ever before. Such rapid growth poses many threats to the wellbeing of children and young people. We have the opportunity to change this, uniting key players with young people, to work collaboratively on policies and initiatives that transform cities into healthy and safe urban environments where young people can thrive.
According to the Cities Alliance some of the fastest-growing urban environments are secondary cities, with populations ranging between 150,000 and five million. These cities, especially in Africa, are expected to be inhabited by twice as many people in the next two decades, but they remain sidelined in global and national development agendas. We recognise their huge economic and social potential and the important role we, as a foundation, can contribute.
Fondation Botnar is seizing the opportunity inherent in secondary cities to influence and support systemic transformation into smart urban areas fit for children. We act as a catalyst for change, connecting diverse partners and co-creating/funding initiatives. We are committed to the sustainable development of cities by supporting projects at the child, household, and community level. Working together, these three levels will help in building healthy and safe urban communities.
Without sufficient planning, urbanisation may compromise the health of children and young people. The world is currently witnessing a rise in issues such as road traffic accidents, under and overnutrition, and unhealthy behavior choices. To address these challenges we want to support the systemic transformation of cities into safe and vibrant spaces, where infrastructure and policy aids those key exploration years.
One of the biggest barriers to having cities that work for young people is the dominance of disjointed systems with key players working in silos individually. Our goal is to build relationships with key stakeholders in a local, regional, and national context to achieve intelligent communities that benefit all.
21st Century Skills
By not paying attention to both the skills that make up our urban youth population, and those in demand, we are failing to invest in our future change makers and community leaders. We aim to build and develop digital literacy skills, maximise job opportunities, and instill an entrepreneurial approach to problem solving, to set young people up for the future.