UNA Tanzania led a discussion on “Empowering Tanzania’s Youth: Unleashing Potential and Fostering Sustainable Development” at The Breakfast Debate organised by UNA Tanzania in collaboration with Policy Forum in July  held at the British Council Auditorium in Dar es Salaam city center. The informal conversation over breakfast provided a space that promoted youth engagements and debate on what it takes to empower the youth of Tanzania to reach their full potential. The debate was one of the avenue UNA Tanzania uses to mobilizes stakeholders together to discuss what works for the youth of Tanzania so as to influence policy processes.

Lucas Kifyasi, The Head of Programs at UNA Tanzania introduced the topic with a focus on; Overview of the Tanzania Youth, Youth Priority, Belief and Aspiration, Barriers towards Unleashing Youth Potential and last but not least what should be done to unleash the potential of Tanzania youth for inclusive and sustainable development.

Lucas Kifyasi, Head of Programs at UNA Tanzania introducing the topic

The debate featured a panel discussion with the following speakers; Ocheck Msuva from Bridge for Change, Mr. Jeremiah Wandili from Wote Initiative for Development Empowerment (WIDE) and Ms. Happy Samuel who is the Youth Development Officer from Ilala District.  The speakers offered in depth assessment of the topic and their recommendations. Mr. Msuva emphasised that it is crucial for Tanzania to have well equipped entrepreneurship centres that will build youth with entrepreneurship skills and make them able to employ themselves. On the other hand Mr. Wandili stressed on the need to create enabling business environment for youth entrepreneurs, “Youth’s businesses are hit with high taxes and many licenses upon establishment which causes early demise. The goverment should learn how to tax youth businessesss in a way that enables youth to start their businesses and keep it running”, he said.

Panelists from left; Ocheck Msuva, Lucas Kifyasi, Happy Samuel and Jeremiah Wandili

Followed by the panel discussion, the participants had a chance to discuss the subject in small groups then the floor was opened for them to provide their two cents. Ms. Josephine Doglas from UNDP spoke about the need for systemic reform if at all full youth potential is to be unleashed. She said that, “Changing the education curriculum alone will not suffice, youth empowerement requires a systemic approach.The government should prioritise reforming the entire education system from the means of instructions, equipments to incentives offered to the teachers”.

Ms. Josephine Douglas from UNDP speaking during the open floor session.

Key take aways derived from the session include;

  • Systemic change: Laws, Policies, Plans and their implementation needs a system change. young people in Tanzania crave an enabling environment across political, economic, technological, educational, cultural, and social spectrums to allow them to fit in the rapidly changing world
  • Unleashing youth potential needs to go hand in hand with effective implementation of Development frameworks commitment in particular SDGs 4, 5, 8 16 in line FYDP III Objective no 8.
  • Building productive capacity of youth, by creating empowerment initiatives, development opportunities and space for engagement is an end in itself, as well as a means to build a better young person to lead and change the community.