From left the second row standing is Kenneth Simbaya, Executive Director of Youth Education Through Sports Tanzania (YES Tanzania), Mbeya District Administrative Secretary (DAS) Hassan Mkwawa, Mbeya Regional Youth Officer George Mbijima and Halima Kamolanya Mbeya District Youth Officer posed the group photo with participants yesterday.
MBEYA: There has never been a better time to invest in youth than now. Said so Kenneth Simbaya, Executive Director of a youth led and youth focused nongovernmental organization Youth Education Through Sports Tanzania (YES Tanzania), when he was closing a week long capacity building training to youth from Songwe and Mbeya regions.
He said investing in youth is not just a moral obligation; it is a compelling economic necessity, as proven by many studies that investing in young people benefits young people and their communities.
“There is no better investment a country can make than investing in its young people,” Simbaya told the youth who attended a week long training under a project christened Funguka. Funguka is a 12 months project which begun in December last year supported by The Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA).
According to Simbaya, YES Tanzania was established to fight the tragic waste of youth potentials, to demonstrate YES Tanzania’s belief that putting young people at the heart of Tanzania development policies is the smartest investment Tanzania can make if the country wants to reap from demographic dividends.
“Youth in Tanzania are scattered and hence lack coordination, political youth wings of different political parties represent youth, but do not address the universal challenges facing young people, it is from this understanding that a need for an impartial programme focusing on empowering youth to demand their civic, social and economic right and responsibilities is needed.” Simbaya said.
Presiding the official opening of the training, on behalf of the Regional Commissioner Amos Makala, the Mbeya District Administrative Secretary (DAS) Hassan Mkwawa, said that Funguka project aims at complimenting the Tanzania National Youth Development Policy (TYDP) of 2007, African Youth Charter, as well as putting young people at the driving seat of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mkwawa challenged young people to be proactive in grabbing opportunities available for them, instead of seating arms akimbo waiting for things to happen.
For young people to be able to benefit from available opportunities, Mkwawa said, they need to engage and to be engaged in development undertakings in the communities as stipulated by the 2007 Tanzania Youth Development Policy.
“Without engaging young people, how will they know that district councils earmarks funds for youth development?,” Mkwawa told Ward Executive Officers who also attended the official opening of Funguka project youth training held at the DCs conference hall.
The challenge according to Mkwawa is that young people have developed a back seat syndrome, hence missing a lot of opportunities that are meant for them.
He told volunteer peer educators (young people attending the training) who are expected to implement the project that, much as the government would want to absolve all young people needing employment, but the government currently is not able to do so, however the government is creating enabling environment for business and investment that in turn is expected to employ some youths.
Mkwawa challenged young people to change their mindset from being job seekers and start thinking about creating jobs
He hailed FUNGUKA project, saying that, the project is doing a commendable job as it aims at empowering young people so that they can meaningfully contribute to their own development and that of their societies.
Attendees of the training were drawn from Igamba, Mlangali and Vwawa wards in Mbozi district Songwe region. Bonde la Usongwe, Utengule Usongwe and Inyala wards in Mbeya district, and Ilomba, Iwambi and Iyela wards in Mbeya City, which are Funguka project pilot wards.
Funguka project, according Simbaya, harnessing youth potentials and channeling it into improving democracy and good governance, sexual reproductive health and rights as well as improving young people’s livelihoods.