The national commemoration of International Youth Day 2018 in Tanzania took place in Arusha. The theme for International Youth Day 2018 is “Safe Spaces for Youth”. The day was graced by Deputy Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office responsible for Policy, Parliament Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled, Honourable Antony Mavunde. More than 3000 youth from different sectors including secondary and college and university students, representatives from youth clubs and networks, entrepreneurs’ attended the celebration. The celebration had couple of activities by youth marching procession, edutainment, exhibitions, services provision for health services and speeches from Government leaders and partners.
The Government of Tanzania commitments and strategies towards youth empowerment
In his speech the Deputy Minister of Youth, Labour and employment Antony Mavunde explained some of the Government strategies and programmes that have been put forward to empower youth in Tanzania. He said that the Government of Tanzania recognizes the importance of having a health and strong youth as they occupy the large population in the country.
“The youth are most affected by HIV/AIDS infections, it’s important for the youth to make sure they keep well and protect themselves and do voluntary testing and regular health checkup to know their status. The statistics shows that everyday 200 people get HIV/ AIDS infections and among those 40% are youth and the girls are the most affected.
He said that the Government of Tanzania will continue with its efforts in improving health by ensuring availability of Adolescent Reproductive Health Services including Youth Friendly Services so as to address the issues of early teenage pregnancies and HIV/ AIDS infections to youth. He added that the Life Skills education will continue to be emphasized to youth so as to empower them to be self-determined and stay away from risk environment.
In empowering youth economically, the Deputy Minister also mentioned that the Government has allocated special areas known as Youth Special Economic Zone to enable youth to conduct their economic activities. To date nearly 217,000 land acres have been set aside for youth economic activities. He encouraged the youth to join and form youth clubs so as to benefit from different opportunities from the Government such as loans from the District Councils. He explained that each District council has to aside 4% of its revenues to provide loans to youth for economic empowerment.
Provision of Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) Services to Youth
Most of the International organizations, CSOs and private organizations made exhibition of their work and provided information and services especially on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights and entrepreneurship including HIV/AIDS testing. These organizations were DSW Tanzania; UN agencies including UNFPA and African Youth and Adolescent Network (AFRIYAN), T- MARC, Restless Development , PSI, Pathfinder International and Government Health Service providers.
DSW Tanzania youth champions and members of the youth clubs provided SRHR and FP information to the fellow youth. DSW youth clubs and Youth Economic Empowerment Centres (YECs) were able to showcase the products they make ranging from Shoe making to agricultural products. Youth representatives from National Level and also DSW Youth Representative gave speeches based on youth petition for International youth day on safe spaces for youth and delivered the resolutions to the Chief Guest.
Addressing the audience, UNFPA Country Director Jacqeline Mahon said that UNFPA has put a promise through implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) agenda that no one will be left behind. She said UNFPA will continue to advocate for youth participation in social and economic issues. She said through youth participation Tanzania will be able to achieve its goals on Tanzania vision 2025, industrialization and SDGs 2030
Giving the word of thanks on behalf of all national Youth stakeholders and Partners, DSW Country Director, Mr. Peter Owaga acknowledged the good collaboration between the Government of Tanzania and development partners. He acknowledged the good work done by Prime Minister Office, Ministry of Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Youth and the Disabled in empowering youth and supporting youth, all focal Ministries that support youth in various services and the host Regional Secretariat.He urged all youth to take lead and implement various strategies agreed during their conventions at the International youth day. He urged the youth to use the available opportunities towards individual and national development.
The Guest of Honour, Hon. Antony Mavunde, and the Deputy Minister presented the certificates of appreciation to the development partners and stakeholders who play crucial role in youth development in Tanzania.
Other distinguished leaders that were present during the national commemoration of the International Youth Day in Tanzania in Arusha were Arusha Regional Commissioner, Hon. Mrisho Gambo, Arumeru District Commissioner, Hon. Jerry Muro and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Policy, Parliament Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and the Disabled, Andrew Massawe and ILO Regional Director, Mr. Wellington Chibebe.