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Young Gamechangers Initiative (YGI)
Enabling liveable and sustainable city systems

Young Minds Shaping Inclusive Cities

The Young Gamechangers Initiative aims to enhance health and wellbeing among young people by actively involving them in urban governance, designing inclusive public spaces, and encouraging their participation through digital platforms.

Transforming Urban Spaces: Youth in Action

The Young Gamechangers Initiative was launched in June 2022, led by UN-Habitat, in partnership with  the World Health Organisation and Block by Block Foundation, and funded by Fondation Botnar. The project supports communities to turn neglected urban spaces into vibrant places that improve quality of life for all.

In 2023, the Young Gamechangers Initiative launched its innovative programme in three pilot cities: Armenia (Colombia), Jatni (India), and Bargny (Senegal). 

This initiative employs the popular video game Minecraft as a participatory tool, enabling young people to contribute their ideas and visions for creating healthier, more inclusive urban spaces that prioritise their health, wellbeing, and social equity.

Over the course of three years, the project will be implemented in three intermediary cities – in Armenia (Colombia), Janti (India), and Bargny (Senegal).

  • Colombia
  • India
  • Senegal

Digital tools centring youth voices for better future

Young people are the future of global cities, and a major driving force in advancing  sustainable development. By 2030, they are projected to make up 60% of the world’s population. However, despite being the largest generation of young people in history, their basic human rights to representation and participation are not being met. They are often left out of decision making and lack vital opportunities to drive meaningful changes in the city-systems they live in.

To set young people up for success and give them the space to craft their own futures, we need inventive solutions that respond to young people’s digital realities. The Young Gamechangers Initiative is based on the recognition that young people are digital experts – we live in a digital world, and technology is part of most young people’s daily lives. Using a range of digital participatory platforms, including Minecraft, a popular video game adopted as a participatory tool, young people can express their visions for healthy, thriving cities. By investing in fun, forward-thinking methods and technologies, we can meaningfully centre youth voices to improve their health and wellbeing.

The initiative, which commenced in January 2023, aims to collaborate with municipalities of intermediary cities, non-profit organisations, and researchers to achieve three key objectives:

  • Strengthening governance frameworks to advance health and wellbeing of young people
  • Support young people with voice and agency and have the right digital skills to engage in governance
  • Promoting and supporting local authorities in delivering public spaces that are safe, accessible and that promotes health and wellbeing for young people



A Young Gamechanger from the city of Armenia, Jesica, shares about her motivation to join the Young Gamechangers Initiative, September 24, 2023 (c) UN-Habitat

Learn more about the project on the UN-Habitat Youth
Visit the YGI web page to get the latest updates
Interview with Gamechanger on the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board
The Future Now.
For Young People

Fondation Botnar
St. Alban-Vorstadt 56
4052 Basel
+41 61 201 04 74