More involvement of Tanzanian Youth in development planning

Chiku Lweno-Aboud explains why Involving the youth in decision making and implementation of national plans would benefit Tanzania.

Among the hundreds of youth who showed up at the commemoration of the International Youth Day on August 12 were school girls and boys and many out of school youth earning income as petty traders. 

Youth petty traders following the commemoration of the International Youth DayThroughout the event the youth demanded 'jobs, life skills, entrepreneur training, youth-friendly reproductive health services' in speeches, songs and discussions,

because attainment of those things will not just benefit us individually but communities and ultimately the nation.

said Yesaya Ahmed a local entertainer  when he was in a discussion with a peer educator from Marie Stopes Tanzania.

Last year, during the general election campaign period, the thousands of people who turned up for rallies were mainly the youth. And politicians were well aware that 50 percent of the Tanzanian population is aged between 18 and 32 the bulk of their voters and a group to pay attention to. 

The youth are the most hopeful with dreams and determination to carry this nation to the next level of development. Tanzania needs socio-economic transformation. The country’s Vision 2025 aims to transform the nation from a least developed country characterized by low productivity agricultural economy to a semi-industrialized middle-income country with a modernized economy and high quality human capital.

Pathway to success

One of the logical pathways to attaining the vision is through harnessing the demographic dividend or in a simple language use population dynamics to generate economic benefits through the increase in the ratio of working-age group relative to the dependant age group. 

Inspired by this possible route, last year during the election campaigns, Mama Ye! joined the Tanzania Coalition for Access to Contraception (TCAC) in collaboration with the Union of Tanzanian Press Clubs (UTPC) to document pledges from members of parliament across the country, representing all political parties.

Over 150 contestants were interviewed and pledged, among other things to campaign for increased budget of the ministry of health is increased to ensure sexual reproductive health and family planning services are promoted and reach the entire country as needed; campaign for strategies to protect female students to so that early/unplanned pregnancies are avoided so that students do not drop out of school.

Should the parliamentarian follow through with the pledges Tanzania will get closer and closer to benefitting from demographic dividend. 

The youth want more involvement in plans and implementation about national plans.

Top-down strategies and plans do not work and they have got the country where it is now with high school drop outs, teenage pregnancies, joblessness. 

Here are just a few facts to ponder:

  • About 8,000 girls every year are dismissed from schoo due to teenage pregnancies and many of them dispar and do not attain their education dreams. –Hakielimu 2011
  • Tanzania expects to have a population increase from 45million people in 2012 to 130 million by 2050—Census 2012 and UN Data
  • About 54% of Tanzanian population comprises the youth aged below 20 years and majority of them are dependants—Census 2012
  • 44% of women get their first pregnancies before they reach 20 years. This contributes to mortality deaths and unsafe abortion—DHS 2010
  • About 42% of children aged 5 years and below are stunted physically and mentally because of poor nutrition contributed by poverty and many children in the household/family—Unicef
  • About 20% of health centres and 17% of dispensaries have the health workers who are trained to provide family planning education—TSPA 2014/2015
  • To implement a programme that is enshrined in the national Health Strategic Plan, the government needs about Tsh 4.23 trillion in 2016/2017—National Health Strategic Plan
  • To cater for the Number of children who enrol for the first time in school, Tanzania requires more than 8,300 new classrooms yearly or more than 42, 600 classes in the coming 5 years. –MST estimate based on 2012 Census

We are ready to play our part. We are asking our leaders to make room for us at the decision making table...We are concerned, just imagine the vicious circle of poverty triggered by or teenage pregnancies and eventually school drop outs since the children born to these girls have bleak future

Please share this widely so that more will support the request of Tanzanian youth to support their Members of Parliament campaigns as per the pledges.

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