In today’s rapidly evolving world, young people’s role in shaping their societies’ future has become more crucial than ever before. Recognising this, youth organisations in Tanzania have emerged as powerful platforms for channelling young people’s energy, creativity, and passion towards positive civic engagement, leadership, and decision-making.
To effectively empower youth to participate in such critical processes, these youth organisations must possess the right capacities. During the recently-concluded 2023 Tanzania National Youth Forum in Dodoma, I spoke about my experience working with the Ajenda ya Vijana consortium.
Given the issue’s importance, I also decided to share those thoughts for wider public consumption here; as we seek to improve the country’s youth organisations’ capacity to play a significant role in civic education and empower young leaders.
Remembering that a fundamental pillar of effective civic education is empowering young leaders with essential skills is important. Therefore, the emerging generation of leaders must be equipped with the tools to construct compelling arguments and engage in critical thinking.
Critical thinking, effective communication, and advocacy skills are pivotal for young leaders to articulate their ideas eloquently, engage in constructive dialogues, and influence decision-makers.
Youth organisations are thus responsible for offering training and mentorship that nurtures these competencies, enabling young individuals to stand confidently and make meaningful contributions to society.
Also, a shared vision and collaborative action form the foundation of any impactful movement.
A collective youth agenda is thus imperative for youth organisations to work towards a harmonised vision that reflects the diverse needs and aspirations of young people and significantly scales youth-focused initiatives by reducing the duplication of processes resulting from working in silos.
Platforms for dialogue and consultation, similar to the Tanzania Youth Manifesto, serve as invaluable tools to amplify the collective voice of youth. By rallying around key issues and objectives, youth organisations can effectively advocate for national change, championing the youth demographic’s rights and desires.
Collaboration between youth organisations, governmental bodies, and development partners is essential to enhance youth participation in decision-making processes. The significance of government partnerships underscores the need for a coordinated effort to create an inclusive and youth-friendly environment.
Local and national governments should actively engage with youth organisations to understand their perspectives, concerns, and aspirations. By involving young individuals in policy discussions and decision-making, governments can ensure that policies are comprehensive and truly reflect the entire population’s needs.
The ability to assess and enhance youth representation within decision-making bodies is another critical aspect that youth organisations should prioritise. The focus on evaluating the extent of youth representation underscores the importance of tangible progress.
Youth organisations should strive to implement data-driven initiatives of young leaders across various areas of governance and leadership. This data highlights achievements and reveals gaps that require attention and improvement.
Summing up, youth organisations play a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of civic education, promoting the engagement of young individuals in leadership and decision-making roles.
Aligned with the sentiments of youth leaders, the capacities necessary for these organisations to effectively fulfil their roles include equipping young leaders with essential skills, fostering a shared youth agenda, cultivating partnerships with government and relevant stakeholders, and measuring youth representation.
By honing these capacities, youth organisations can lay the groundwork for a more inclusive, participatory, and dynamic society where the voices of young people resonate and carry significant weight.
Ocheck Msuva is the Executive Director of Bridge For Change, a local NGO promoting the meaningful participation of youth in decision-making. He is available at firstname.lastname@example.org. These are the writer’s own opinions and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of The Chanzo. Do you want to publish in this space? Contact our editors at email@example.com for further inquiries.