The afternoon I arrived at Changanyikeni Secondary School located in Kigamboni, I observed a lot of silence as classes were in progress. One of the classrooms was filled with a lot of students learning about the environment. This was all taking place during a school club session under Tanzania Youth Cultural Exchange Network (TYCEN).
But it wasn’t just another school club day. On that day, TYCEN brought to Tanzania two country coordinators, Indre Augutiene from Lithuania and Emil Metodiev from Bulgaria. In their respective countries, the two coordinators work with organizations that are doing the same activities as TYCEN.
Christopher Ndallo, the Executive Director of TYCEN says the network is a non-governmental youth organization whose mission is to engage young people first hand in improving local and health education, foster environmental conservation and gender issues and further sustainable development in communities through Tanzania.
He says the two coordinators came to Tanzania for job shadowing through the ‘Globalab goes global’ project which involved other 13 coordinators traveling to other partner countries for job shadowing to learn how other partner countries and youth organisations contribute towards achieving sustainable development goals and educate young people as global citizens.
Available information on the Globalab project shows that this initiative is coordinated by Global Citizens Academy (GCA) in Lithuania. Project partners are Pro European Network – PEN from Bulgaria, Cazalla Intercultural – CAZALLA from Spain, TYCEN from Tanzania, Soul-Xpressions Co. Limited from Uganda and Young People We Care – YPWC from Ghana.
The project is a capacity building follow-up process seeking functional links and synergies between youth work and the Sustainable Development Agenda. Sub-Saharan African and European partners are working together on improving competences in youth work, its quality and recognition, and to foster new non-formal learning mobility schemes.
With a growing number of youth here in Tanzania, this project aims at developing the competences of youth workers in the area of facilitating the global learning and focused on real life examples. The European partnership has already created the manual Globalab and the mobile application based on the 6 steps approach, which aims to activate young people to take actions in the areas that interests them, and they find important.
Christopher says the two coordinators stayed in Tanzania for two weeks and during that time they managed to visit four secondary schools which are Changanyikeni, Mikwambe, Kibaha Girls and Tumbi Secondary School. They had sessions with a total of 160 students and 50 youth who are out of school but attached in the youth centres.
Metodiev, coordinator from Bulgaria, says during his stay in Tanzania, they went to Misu hostel in Kibaha where they met 40 students who were eager to know the purpose of the visit. He says, during the workshop on Globalab project the students opened up by sharing what they know and were ready to learn new things and meet new people.
A fellow coordinator from Lithuania led the workshop and they later worked in groups and shared problems that affect them and their community. Finally they came up with very articulated presentations.
“We were amazed of how they focused on the problems mentioned. And some of the youth were also giving solutions for the issues mentioned. Absolutely amazing group of young people who want to make a change. At the end we asked them what action they would take to solve the issues. They wrote their responses on a piece of paper and we took a photo of each one of them with their statements. By July they will receive their photo statement and we are going to remind them after 5 years what they wrote,” says Metodiev.
Augutiene, the coordinator from Lithuania, says the visit to Tanzania gave her the chance to meet young people, with whom she did a workshop and explained to them the phenomena of global interconnectedness, explored their views on different global issues in their local context and looked for ways citizens could contribute to coping with the problems.
She says through the workshop they learnt so much about what they care about in their country and their local communities. From issues related to quality education and its accessibility to pollution, girl empowerment, lack of sufficient infrastructure, health problems to the issues related with migrants and refugees in Tanzania.
“We also visited Mikwambe Secondary School where we met around 60 young boys and girls with whom we tried to explore different issues related to the environment. Again, we heard a lot of interesting thoughts on what the environment means for the youngsters and a lot of reflections on the issues that they care about as well as solutions that could be taken into consideration. We also shared some experience from our countries on different environmental problems in our local areas and the examples of solutions implemented by our citizens,” says Augutiene.
Bless Mgongolwa is among the youth who’ve benefited from the workshops. He is also a participant of the TYCEN project called ‘Women Empowerment Through Sports’.
He says he had an opportunity to train artists who are doing handcrafting on how to brand their products and services so as to create a unique product or service which will perform well on market standards.
Bless had an opportunity to chat with the two coordinators and explained how majority of people define development in Tanzania as having beautiful cities, luxury malls, tall buildings, however he defines development by looking at the levels of education in the country, health care provision, employment opportunities and ease of access to transport.
Objective of the project
Globalab objectives are to enhance cooperation between youth organizations from different regions of the world engaging young people in global education processes and Sustainable Development Goals agenda.
The project also wants to improve quality of youth work and non-formal education among engaged partners addressing global issues.
Provide mobility opportunities for youth workers and young people to foster their competences and increase their motivation to actively participate in their society, especially focusing on tackling global issues.