Walk21 has secured funding from the Alstom Foundation to work with FundaPeatón and the City of Medellin to ensure it is as walkable as possible for young people.
‘Small Steps Forward” is a project that focuses on engaging young people from the neighbourhoods San Benito, Niquitao, Prado Centro y Boston located in La Cancelaria, commune 10 in the City of Medellin.
This initiative will give children, for the first time, the opportunity to share their everyday mobility and safety needs; plot their location specific perceived deficiencies in the transport system using a new tool developed in partnership with Stefan Steiniger, a Professor at CEDEUS, in the University of Santiago de Chile.
Walk21's Founder, Jim Walker, said " This is a significant initiative which promises to set new international standards for the way cities engage their young citizens; meet more of their mobility needs; and demonstrate the value of investment in the public realm to their benefit. Young people walk more than anyone else in Medellin and Sadly, like in many cities, that means they are suffering disproportionately from road danger too. In 2017 there were 3,887 pedestrians injured in road traffic incidents and tragically 113 died. A third of these people were under 30 years old and we want to help reduce that to zero if at all possible".
Martha Giraldo, Chief Executive of FundaPeatón said " We have worked since 2015 to promote citizen pedestrian empowerment at the local, national and international level and as such Medellin’s strong Mobility Strategy already recognises the need ‘To protect life and the personal integrity of its citizens’ but we hope that this new initiative will give new confidence to the authority especially, to steer new investment in infrastructure where it is most needed; to protect the most vulnerable; and help further ensure the best benefit to citizens. We are delighted that Medellin will be the first city in the world that executes this project, thanks to a grant from The Alstom Foundation".
The project was launched in a local park, on the outskirts of the General Hospital of Medellin, during the celebration of “Medellin’s Mobility Week 2018”, organised by the Secretary of Mobility. Thanks to FundaPeatón more than 30 children from the Niquitao sector also joined the launch and went for a walk in Torres of San Sebastián, passing through the “Red Caminera” of the Perpetuo Socorro.
The Secretary also took a moment to sign the International Charter for Walking, which was already signed by the Mayor Federico Gutierrez, Eugenio Prieto Soto, Director of the Metropolitan Area and the Councillors Fabio Rivera and Daniel Carvalho. He further agreed to support the project and commit to addressing the concerns of young people walking in the city that the project hopes to expose.
Many thanks to Camilo Ardila and Barry Howe of the Alstom Foundation especially, who have helped us secure this grant. The Foundation is a global institution, supporting and financing projects that serve to improve the living conditions and economic prospects of communities around the world. We are excited by the potential of this project to improve conditions for young people in Medellin as an example for the rest of the world.