Bill addresses a workshop at Habitat III. "I will gain knowledge that I can share with other young people, especially with the YMCA peer educators who are already involved with the community."

World leaders met this week at the UN’s Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador to plan how to create safe, sustainable cities for the growing urban population. Y Care International joined them to bring the voices of young people to this global stage.

We invited three young people from Zambia, Liberia and Sierra Leone to represent their communities.

Bill lives in West Point slum in Liberia. In 2014, West Point became the epicentre of the Ebola crisis and was placed under quarantine. And so Bill brings first-hand experience to discussions at Habitat III on investing in infrastructure and basic services for towns and cities.

Bill explains why he made the trip to Quito and what he hoped to achieve.

Critical infrastructure
“I hoped to learn more about community health at the conference. I wanted to get a broader understanding of how Habitat III will help slum upgrading and development.

YMCA Liberia introduced so many structures to improve this community – the savings groups, latrines and water points as well as the knowledge that have been shared. We need to see more of this.

My message to world leaders is: “Health is wealth!”

Habitat III in action
“I will gain knowledge that I can share with other young people, especially with the YMCA peer educators who are already involved with the community. This means we can bring together our efforts and transform the situation in our community and more widely in the district.

I would also like to build alliances with organisations that already work on hygiene and sanitation so we can collaborate to achieve the goals coming out of Habitat III.”

Young people as catalysts for change
Young people can volunteer their services and raise awareness of health issues. This also means joining forces with organisations who are already involved in such work.