Young people fear to be involved in budget preparation through their various groups, yet only a few of them have the opportunity to express their views in such forums. To ensure sustainable development, local governments must prioritize the participation of young people and ensure that their views and demands are incorporated into development plans.
While local government is supposed to be an entry point for youth participation and development, more should be done on the specifics of youth participation in local governance in the areas of economic empowerment and defining youth development programs.
Statistics available from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that about 59.4 million inhabitants, 23.7 million people equivalent to 40 percent are young people aged 15 to 40 years. In this case, young people have the potential to ensure that development issues are essential and constitute a daily conversation in which they engage.
Some young people engaged in agricultural activities complain that the price of inputs is too high for their income, with limited chances of expressing their challenges as they are left out in most decision-making forums.
To meet their challenge, the United Nations Association (UNA) in collaboration with other youth organizations and the government are implementing a one-year project entitled “Youth participation in decision-making and political process” which focuses on educating young people and informs them of guidelines for organizing community meetings and providing a fluid guide that will help young people to fully participate in decision-making for sustainable development at local government level.
Speaking recently at a consultation session on planning and policy issues hosted by the UNA, Britas Titus from Dar es Salaam said that a number of things young people are asking for are not involved in development plans at local government level. He gave an example of the budget preparation process that involves only a few young people.
“When we discuss issues in a meeting, we are seen as disrespectful to our elders,” he added.
He said, for example, that when young people attend a public meeting, the only thing they hear is that they are participating in security activities, but are left out in some important matters. such as loans. He said the law requires city councils to offer loans to special groups, including women, youth and the disabled, but it has been difficult for them to access the money.
“We need to access funds to improve and grow our businesses, because most of us don’t have jobs. We have opted for self-employment, but we face many challenges, including the lack of capital, ”said Titus.
Getrude Clement from the University of Dar es Salaam said that most young people lose hope because they are forced to implement issues that do not know it. She said most young people are not even aware of the 4% loans they are supposed to get from their respective districts.
Aidan Chacha said: “The government is talking about 10% loans given to special groups, but there is little information on how young people can access these funds to develop their businesses. She said young people should also be trained in business skills and financial management to enable them to develop their businesses and be able to repay loans.
UNA Tanzania’s Program Manager (Economic Rights and Youth Participation) Lucas Kifyasi said that during the implementation of the project in various districts, they discovered that some young people are not achieving their goals because ‘they do not have development information and do not know where to send their complaints.
“The one-year project started in June this year and will end in 2021, aiming to reach a large number of young people and raise awareness of the importance of participating in decision-making sessions,” he said. he said, noting that in the aftermath of COVID- In the event of a pandemic epidemic, they expect to meet 100 young people in each neighborhood while others will inform themselves via the networks. When completed, the project is expected to meet over 1,000 young people.
“There can be no economic development without the inclusion of young people. For our LGAs to progress, we need inclusive leadership that puts the interests of its citizens, especially young people, first. “You may have all the factors of production, but without good leadership you can never achieve anything. “
He added that harnessing the potential of young people requires strategic interventions designed to strengthen youth participation in decision-making and development processes through the delivery of quality services.
Kifyasi added that it is estimated that around one million young people enter the labor market each year while 200,000 of them find employment immediately successfully, the remaining 800,000 are not guaranteed by formal employment.
“The challenges of unemployment make entrepreneurship a major way for young people to develop themselves, in particular by creating small and medium enterprises, start-ups and social enterprises, while focusing on the use of technology. digital technology and innovation to solve socio-economic challenges, ”said Kifyasi.
According to him, to achieve meaningful development of young people, there should be active participation of young people who are empowered to play a vital role in their own development as well as that of their communities, helping them to acquire vital life skills, to develop knowledge and promote meaningful decisions to achieve their goals.