Tanzania like the rest of many African nations has the youngest population and each year 800,000 to 1,200,000 million of its young people are believed to enter into the workforce with many of them left with little or no success at all. While this is considered to be the great challenge on the other hand it has been seen by many as an opportunity for the youth to do transformation in our economy particularly in agribusiness enterprises.
However many youth are faced with difficulty in trying to earn a living from self employment opportunities available such as in agribusiness since they most lack financial power with limited access to credit and even a range of skills necessary for them to excel in the agribusiness.
As a result, attractive training projects which are believed to have a huge influence upon the employment of youth have been developed to offer opportunities to them and to challenge their mind sets through building self-confidence for their development.
Haika Izack, is one among many youth who have benefited from such training projects offered across the country. She was recently among the 30 young women and men who participated in a business challenge titled Opportunities for Youth Employment (OYE) and took home Sh800,000 following her successful pitching of their business skills in front of the panel on behalf of her group which is based in Monduli District.
It never crossed her mind that, such an opportunity will have an impact in building her self confidence she never imagined having, “ Being connected with a group of young and creative men and women has taught me a lot about myself. I never imagined that I could confidently speak in front of people and convince them that what we are doing is of benefit to our society but I leant a lot. This project has opened my eyes and realized that youth have so much potential if they are given opportunities and that we shouldn’t underestimate ourselves,” explains Haika confidently.
Haika believes she is going to be one of the good ambassadors to her fellow youth particularly when it comes to encouraging them about self employment, “I have friends back home still searching for job opportunities because they think that entrepreneurship is for certain people, I am going to be their role model that everything is possible if they set their mind into it and that they shouldn’t wait for someone to change their lives on their behalf,” says Haika.
Christina Herman, from Kisarawe District took home Sh1,000,000 million following her well presented business skills and knowledge in renewable energy, “One thing I have leant in life is to never be afraid to try ,even if you fail that shouldn’t be the end of your dreams.
Youth have so many challenges particular when it comes to employment but participating in projects as this one can open a lot of opportunities. And I can be witness to that because I am who I am today because of my activeness and fearless. I am not well educated but I didn’t take it as a way of stopping me being who I wanted to be today,’” she proudly explained.
Safari Fungo, a business consultant and expert said there are lots of opportunities for youth today, however for them to succeeded they need to have faith and courage that they can make it big,’ ‘ everything good we see today started as an idea. Each society has their own challenges so you need to come up with ideas that can generate solutions to such challenges,” he advised.
As a business expert he found projects such as OYE to be a rare chance that can open many doors to young men and women out there .”As we all know each year more than a million youth enter into job market however the same job market can only accommodate few of them. This is a problem especially on the fact that 60 up to 75 per cent of Tanzanian are youth that is two third of our population don’t have employment.”
“Therefore having this form of forums and initiatives helps youth to come up with creative ideas that can open doors to self employment and also opportunity to employ their fellow youth. My advice to them is to never give up there is always a chance and there shouldn’t be a room for any regrets in case they feel that there are things they fail to accomplish over a certain period of time. Its better for them to join in groups and used opportunities that comes their way to as they can create employment opportunities and run their daily lives,” Christina.
Haika and Christina were among the youth who participated in Opportunity for Youth Employment Bootcamp challenges and business competition which had offered a 3-day comprehensive program, designed for young Tanzanian entrepreneurs that wanted to catapult their business and increase their income.
Out of the many business ideas that were formed in OYE’s third year of implementation, 30 youth-led enterprises were selected to fine tune their business plans and compete against other OYE youth, in front of an expert jury, for start-up kits and overall recognition.
Coming from Mbeya, Arusha, Dodoma and Mwanza,these youth were challenged in presenting different skills required in running a business including showing their books of records, pitching their business skills in front of the panel and showing some of the negotiating skills they practise in their businesses include elaborated on what means they use to acquire customers as well as find their market outside of their villages.
Faustine Msangira, a business adviser working with SNV,a Netherland based non-profit International development organisation said the project aimed to stimulate Opportunities for Youth Employment (OYE) in Tanzania, Rwanda and Mozambique, connecting rural youth aged between 18-30 years to growing agribusiness and renewable energy sectors, as employees, entrepreneurs and commercial farmers.
‘We wanted to sharpen skills and capacity development of youth and also to link youth to market opportunities for employment and small enterprise development. We judged them based on their success within their group and businesses since they acquired OYE trainings, their confidence to stand in front of a panel and sell their plans for funding,” says Faustine.
According to him, they are targeting to reach out to 6,500 youth for two and a half years.”Our project aims to reach out to 18,500 youth across the country. This means we have so far reached up to 90 per cent of our target by reaching up to up to 12,000 youth whom majority of them have managed to start their own businesses,’ e elaborated.
The business adviser said so far they have 200 businesses which have been established by the youth in the central zone alone , “One of the biggest success we are proud to see is the fact that youth have been able to get employment opportunities both self employment through youth lead enterprises and being employed in various Institutions and companies which are working close with OYE project to look for various human power from the youth.
This companies have so far being able to employ more than 300 youth. We are also working close with the local government authority that have recognised the existence of these youth and they have so far offered loans from the Municipal to 50 business projects run by the youth.