April 13, 2011 – Nollywood heartthrob Ramsey Nouah and actress/producer Ini Edo were in Nairobi yesterday, where UN-HABITAT appointed them as youth envoys to power young people in their communities.
Also feted were Bollywood star Vikram K Vinod and German artist Wolfgang E. Riegelsberger.
The famous four-some were excited about the appointments and pledged to do all they could to empower youth in relation to urbanisation.
While introducing them, UN-HABITAT boss Joan Clos said young people constitute nearly one fifth of the world’s population, and yet their voices regularly go unheard.
“These envoys will promote the poverty reduction aims of Millennium Development Goals and the Habitat Agenda for better, more sustainable and equitable towns and cities throughout the developing world. They will also raise funds and promote a better understanding of and insight into how the UN attempts to find solutions to problems,” he explained.
The new envoys were chosen because of their influence on young people through their relative arts, and their interest in helping young people.
“This has always been a dream of mine,” says Edo, who first told fans about the appointment on her twitter account @ini4phil – ‘Thank God ive been given a platform to do wht ive always wanted to do. empowering de youths thru de UN. lord pls give me de grace.’
Vikram is not on twitter but he was exhilarated too.
“As an actor I am all too aware of the kind of influence I have on my fans. At times, when I take on different characters in movies, I find that the fans I meet take on my identity. For instance, in this movie I wore muscle shirts and had a goatee, and after the movie came out I met so many people who had copied that identity. With this kind of influence, I feel responsible to make a good impact.”
The well spoken 45-year-old told Capital Lifestyle that youth are inspired by cinema and the envoys were looking at the possibility of acting in a movie together that would further the UN-HABITAT message and show youth across the divide that their issues are similar.
Apart from giving their time to help the UN-HABITAT Youth Programme and preach human development to the youth, the envoys will also be required to raise public awareness about and galvanize support for youth initiatives.
Ramsey, who grew up on the streets, said he approached the UN seeking to be part of this effort.
“I know what it feels like not to have a roof over your head. I know how it is when you have nobody to help you. I would like to do what I can to help. And I will,” said a determined Ramsey.
Wolfgang on his part mentioned that in Germany they have a youth festival in July where part of the proceeds usually go towards setting up water kiosks in Kibera.
“Youth have so much in them that they can use to improve themselves, their surroundings, and help others. We have a platform to help them do that,” Edo concludes.