Young people in Tanzania demand quality education, training and youth-friendly health services
In January, nearly 300 children from various youth networks participated at the Youth Summit, organized by Femina Hip in collaboration with UNICEF.
Children and young people in Tanzania have started a movement to ensure that their voices are heard at some of the highest levels of decision-making in the country. In January, nearly 300 children from various youth networks and platforms participated at the Youth Summit, organized by Femina Hip in collaboration with UNICEF.
The summit was yet another milestone in the movement to ensure that the voices of young people and children are heard; a journey that began in early 2019 as part of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC@30), where, with UNICEF’s support, over 34,000 children and young people came together to develop the Children and Young People’s Agenda – a declaration of their hopes for Tanzania’s future. Outreach activities also reached over 9 million children and young people from government bodies, civil society organizations, youth-led networks and school-based platforms to build awareness of children’s rights and to create a demand for them to be upheld.
The Children and Young People’s Agenda provides a foundation for youth champions to lead advocacy meetings with different stakeholders including business leaders, religious leaders, donors and development partners and parliamentarians in both mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar. All stakeholders who discuss the Agenda with young people commit to take action.
At the Youth Summit, young people identified three key issues from the Agenda which are at the top of their agenda in 2020: an improvement in the school curriculum and increased completion of secondary education by adolescents; economic empowerment, with a focus on building opportunities for volunteers and interns to prepare young people for the job market; and an expansion in access to youth-friendly health services, especially facilities that increase access to sexual and reproductive health and rights information and services. The recommendations are timely as the country gears up for the general elections later this year.
The Agenda development process, subsequent advocacy meetings with influencers, and the Youth Summit all facilitate the meaningful participation of young people in decision-making processes, a key part of Generation Unlimited’s work in Tanzania. Children and young people are now demanding a new framework, one that views children as stakeholders rather than beneficiaries, of the law and the state, but as stakeholders, who know what they need and want in terms of policies, priorities and delivery platforms which puts their voices and ideas at the forefront of sustainable development in Tanzania.