Netherlands enables Tanzanian rural and urban youth to use their potential in entrepreneurship

The Dutch Ambassador for Youth, education and work, Tijmen Rooseboom in an interview with The Citizen newspaper reporter in Dar es Salaam.

PHOTO | Sunday George.

The Dutch visiting Ambassador for Youth, Education and Work, Mr. Tijmen Rooseboom, says it is high time countries prioritized and adapted to the young reality as data shows that demographic compositions in several countries is by majority composed of young people.

This includes allowing young people a platform to express their own ideas, opinions and create opportunities to transform their lives.

Mr Rooseboom has held the position since 2019. Part of his mission is to engage in the ongoing dialogue with young people to stay informed of the specific challenges they face and identify ways to make their voice heard on the international stage.

The Citizen’s reporter, Josephine Christopher, had an interview with the ambassador.

What inspires you in your work for young people?

I used to live in Kenya and have also worked in some other countries. You speak to so many young people, all of them have the same dreams and aspirations but they don’t have the same opportunities.

For me when I got this opportunity to work on international cooperation with a focus on youth internationally, I was so excited.

I remember some young people in Nairobi, who were taking extra courses at night, who were sometimes working two or three jobs; wanting to make something for their lives.

So, it is better to know how we can work together and make sure there are a few more opportunities so that they can fulfill their own potential. That would be wonderful and that is why I am happy to be able to cooperate.

What is your role as an ambassador?

Normally, an ambassador is accredited to a specific country, but for me I work on a topic and that is youth, education and work. I mostly try to push an agenda in The Netherlands but mostly I try to push an agenda internationally, which also means I travel and am able to talk on the issues.

We have a strategy, Youth at Heart (YaH), which is about strengthening the prospects of young people and their needs such as education, jobs, and skills needed in the job market.

The second party of the strategy is about strengthening the voice of young people, as we know as much as it is important to talk about young people, we also need to talk with them.

So, we really try to work with the young people to raise their voice in their communities, but also in our own work as an embassy in our programs and how we can make their voice heard.

So, I am here with the embassy to look at initiatives, for example, young entrepreneurs to talk with the youth from different parts of society and together with the embassy we have made visits on some of those programs and talked to the youth.

How education could further support creating jobs for youth?

Some young people here have told me that education is a bit theoretical and for them to fulfil their job they need a type of skills like 21st century skills, socio-emotional skills, and cognitive skills which will not only allow them to succeed in the job market but also to employ themselves.

Thinking outside the box, creative thinking, etc all of these people are needed in the 21st century. So, I think it’s important that education includes that type of skills.

The Dutch Ambassador for Youth, education and work, Tijmen Rooseboom speaks with youth attending a Safari Wallet workshop on youth opportunities and challenges in tourism.

What are your impressions of visiting Tanzania the past days in terms of youth leadership and involvement?

I have met many amazing youth leaders, and my view was very positive of the image that they have and the fact that they have different ways of doing business as I have also met young people dealing with climate issues and awareness.

I was really amazed by the young leaders who also reminded us of the importance of involving them because they tell me that they sometimes feel no one is listening, and they are asking themselves how they can be heard, who is listening? So we all need to adapt to young people and not just to tell them to adapt to us.

What is The Netherlands currently doing to raise the voice of young people in Tanzania?

There is no like a stand-alone initiative for the voice of the young people, but what the embassy is trying to do is to deal with this meaningful youth participation and try to make sure they are integrated into their work like dialogues and discussions like what we did in the sectors of agriculture, entrepreneurship etc which we need also to make sure it is attractive to them.

While in Tanzania

During his short visit to Tanzania, the ambassador, Mr Rooseboom, was able to meet partners and youth representatives in the tourism sector, some of the Tanzanian alumni studied in The Netherlands, as well as participated in the launch of a study for start-up environment that was issued by the Tanzanian Start-Up Association including visiting a business incubator and young entrepreneurs.