Dar es Salaam. Formal employment, quality education, better health services, entrepreneurship, involvement and participation are the five top priorities of the youth, three years after the fifth phase government assumed office following October 25, 2015 General Election, a recent report shows.
Dubbed, ‘the state of youth development in Tanzania: trends and indicators for our development’, other priorities forming the top 10 of the youth priorities include; good governance and accountability, arts, sports and creative arts, resource availability, gender equality and political, social and economic information.
The top 10 youth priorities were unveiled last week by Restless Development, a non-governmental organisation dealing with the youth during a breakfast debate organised by Policy Forum. Presenting the paper, Restless Development assistant project coordinator Vivian Ngowi said the study was conducted in seven districts of four mainland Tanzania regions namely, Dar es Salaam, Coast, Kilimanjaro and Iringa where data from 2,996 youth aged between 15 and 35 years was collected and analysed.
She said the study aimed at establishing priorities of the youth as compared to those highlighted in the youth manifesto released in 2015, three years after the government has started addressing various challenges facing Tanzanians.
According to her, the 2015 youth manifesto outlined issues of employment, better education, better health services, good governance and accountability among the youth’s top most priorities.
Others are youth and natural resources, arts, sports and creative arts, youth and the disabled, gender equality and youth and diplomacy.
Presenting study findings last week, Ms Ngowi said 57 per cent of the youth said formal employment was their priority followed by quality education by 54 per cent and that better entrepreneurship and health services were voted third and fourth respectively by 51 per cent.
Others and their respective percentages in brackets are; youth involvement and partnership (38pc), good governance and accountability (37pc), arts, sports and creative arts (33pc), resource availability for the youth (30pc), access to political, social and economic information (23pc) and informal employment (16pc), according to her.
“Study findings show that the youth have similar demands,” she said.
However, the youth believe that little is being done by the government to empower them in areas of agriculture and entrepreneurship.
“While two out of 10, which is equivalent to 20 per cent of the youth agree that agricultural inputs are easily accessible at affordable prices, three out of 10 others,which is equivalent to 26 per cent, say grants are provided to small scale industries,” she said.
She added: “Three out of 10 youth, which is equivalent to 31 per cent say the National Youth Development Fund is beneficial in improving their livelihoods. However, majority of the youth disagree.”
According to her, six out of 10, which is equivalent to 58 per cent, say there are volunteering opportunities that could provide them with experience and build skills for future employment and that international organisations offered employment to the youth.
Commenting on provision of health services, she said the findings show that three out of 10 young people, which is equivalent to 32 per cent, agree that corruption and bureaucracy are no longer a problem in accessing health care services.
“While half of the youth believe that access to insurance for young people was still limited, 40 per cent others agree that infrastructure in health facilities have been improved and that provision of youth friendly services to the youth have been improved,” she said.
Furthermore, she said that three out of 10 young people agree that there were laws and procedures enabling people to hold their leaders accountable.
However, 30 per cent others believe that civic, leadership, good governance and education are provided to all citizens, but nearly half others agree that enacted laws regulate and protect principles of human rights.
The findings also indicate that nearly 80 per cent of the youth were unaware of the National Youth Development Policy and initiatives undertaken to create the National Youth Council.
“But, 30 per cent of them agree that there were frameworks put in place to collect youth opinions regarding development issues in their communities. Nearly 40 per cent others agree that there is sufficient representation in various decision-making organs,” she said.
Debating the presentation, Restless Development policy and advocacy manager, Mr Oscar Kimaro said since employment toppled the Tanzania youth’s priorities, more investment was required in the area. He said there was a need for the youth to be equipped with enough skills and experience in order to serve the country in implementing its industrialisation agenda.
“We need to build strong human resources at different levels. We need to transform our economy and become a middle economy country by 2025,” he said.
He commended Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) that provide the youth with opportunities to work and gain skills in their institutions, noting that the move was important in developing skills and provision of experience to the youth.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ambassador at Restless Development, Mr Badru Juma, said the level of unemployment in Tanzania was on the rise, suggesting that pilot projects should be shortened to provide room for fully implementation of the projects.
According to him, Tanzania was lagging behind in East Africa in terms of patriotism.
“Though the youth are facing many challenges, they are not supposed to give up. They are the ones who can end inequality, corruption, poverty and address the vagaries of climate change,” he said.
The co-founder of Tamasha NGO, Mr Richard Mabala said the youth are being sidelined, something which makes them miss many opportunities.
“The youth are not involved and do not participate in different forums and meetings. The society has adopted negative perception against the youth,” he said.
“Sexual corruption has been named as one of the challenges affecting social equality in the country especially in securing employment. But, how will the female contribute in building the country’s economy amid growing inequality and unsafe environment even in schools and health centres?” he questioned.
The Dutche Stiftung Weitbevolkerung (DSW) senior project officer advocacy, Ms Turphina Matekere said study findings in the health sector indicated that the youth were less informed and involved.
“We are told that the policy that will safeguard welfare of the youth is being formulated. But, the extent to which they are involved remains a million dollar question,” she said.
Dar es Salaam-based advocate Godbless Msofe challenged the youth to avoid complaining, calling on them to identify and grab opportunities available in various sectors.
“Our problem is that we don’t want to involve others in what we are doing. Worse enough we don’t take part in processes of decision making including voting. We need to change,” he said.
For his part, consult sustainability-community liaison officer, Mr Aidan Makwita said the country should strive at addressing mindset changes.
According to him, the later could have its root at the parenting level, something which hinders them to benefit from abundant natural resources available in the country.