Meet Valerhim – Young Gamechanger and Newly Selected UN-Habitat Youth Advisor

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Today, we have the pleasure of sitting down with Valerhim, a dynamic youth leader who has been selected as a member of the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board. Valerhim brings a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to promoting youth participation in urban governance. Let’s dive into her journey and aspirations.

Q: Valerhim, could you tell us about your background and the impactful initiatives you’ve been involved in?

A: Certainly! During my tenure as Youth Councilor from 2022 to June 2023, I focused on amplifying the voices of young people in Armenia. I spearheaded efforts to revitalize neglected green spaces and parks, advocated for the inclusion of public spaces in the city’s Social Observatory, and played a pivotal role in establishing strategic alliances between UN-Habitat and local government entities. Additionally, I was part of an environmental group that organized educational campaigns and tree-planting initiatives aimed at fostering environmental stewardship among youth.

Moreover, my involvement with the ‘Youth Citizenship’ Study Group at La Gran Colombia University deepened my understanding of public youth policies in Quindío. Currently, I’m immersed in my thesis research on the perceptions of youth cultures regarding citizen participation in public policies, particularly in Quindío.

Q: Your dedication to youth engagement is truly inspiring. What motivated you to apply for the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board?

A: Thank you! I believe that youth engagement is fundamental to creating sustainable and inclusive cities. The Sustainable Development Goals underscore the importance of involving young people in decision-making processes that shape their future. I see the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board as a platform to advocate for meaningful youth participation in global urban governance.

Q: Could you elaborate on how you envision contributing to the board’s mandate?

A: Absolutely. Firstly, I aim to advocate for increased support for young researchers in sustainable urbanization. Academic centers play a crucial role in generating knowledge that can inform policy development. I also intend to foster international networks of youth leaders, particularly in Latin America, to exchange ideas and collaborate on urban development initiatives.

Moreover, I plan to advocate for youth participation in territorial planning processes. By integrating youth perspectives and identities into urban development plans, we can create more inclusive and responsive cities. Finally, I believe in harnessing the power of technology to innovate sustainable urban ecosystems and enhance youth engagement.

Q: Your vision for youth empowerment in urban governance is truly commendable. How do you see the role of public spaces in nurturing youth leadership and well-being?

A: Public spaces serve as essential platforms for youth engagement, recreation, and social interaction. By investing in vibrant and accessible public spaces, we can foster a sense of belonging and community among young people. Moreover, well-designed public spaces can promote physical and mental well-being, contributing to healthier and more resilient communities.

Q: In closing, what message would you like to share with young people who aspire to create positive change in their communities?

A: I encourage young people to be proactive and to seize opportunities to make a difference. Our voices matter, and our actions have the power to shape the future of our cities and societies. Let’s work together to build inclusive, sustainable, and thriving communities where everyone can fulfill their potential.

In conclusion, Valerhim’s passion for youth empowerment and sustainable urban development is evident in her dedication to creating positive change. As she embarks on her journey with the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board, she serves as an inspiring example of youth leadership in action. Let’s join her in advocating for a more inclusive and sustainable future for all.

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