Tema: Youth Panel Tanzania

Ungdomspanelet i Tanzania

Ungdomspanelet samarbeider med ungdom i Tanzania.

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Nearly five tons of elephant ivory and thousands of ivory ornaments are burned to keep out of reach of the illegal ivory trade. Gabon 2007. Photo: animalrescueblog/ Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Nearly five tons of elephant ivory and thousands of ivory ornaments are burned to keep out of reach of the illegal ivory trade. Gabon 2007. Photo: animalrescueblog/ Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

By Neema Charles (18)

The illegal wildlife trade is not only a crime against our elephants, rhinos and other wildlife but also against the African states’ prosperity and world heritage. It harms our economies by undermining industries such as tourism, and it weakens ecological systems important for our growth and development. It corrupts and rewards the few, while taking from the many. It puts our rangers at greater risk, and endangers us all by serving as a convenient financing mechanism for terror and rebel groups.

Child marriage marks the beginning of frequent and unprotected sex, often leading to an early and risky first pregnancy. Girls and women everywhere have the right to live free from violence and discrimination.
Child marriage marks the beginning of frequent and unprotected sex, often leading to an early and risky first pregnancy. Girls and women everywhere have the right to live free from violence and discrimination. Photo: Jessica Lea/UK Department for International Development/Flickr CC BY 2.0.

Marriage is essentially a blessed institution, but its place in society is gravely compromised by people, mostly greedy men, who have turned their daughters into commodities for sale in which, by and large, livestock is the currency.

421481_10151564506498783_400521714_nAs 2015 begins, a group of 6 young people from Tanzania joins their fellow 10 youth of Norway at the youth panel blog of UNA Norway.

This new group of young bloggers from Tanzania is made up of 3 girls and 3 boys, all coming from 6 different secondary schools of Tanzania. They have been interviewed prior to their selection, then got oriented on article writing and finally devoted to be posting articles at the page regularly.

This is done in collaboration with UNA Tanzania. The main purpose of UNA Norway to extend this program to the young people of Tanzania; is to help young people of the both UNAs and the world at large to understand the importance of international cooperation, and encourage them to be active participants in the world society.

The UN Associations of Norway and Tanzania have developed a collaboration project “UNAs South-North Information”, this project has brought together 2 teams of not more than 6 youth from each country forming a panel that comprises a total of 12 young people who write and post articles on the youth blog of UNA Norway, on this blog the rest of young people in the world share their opinion on agenda/topic raised in the articles. The project promotes and increases the understanding on the importance of international cooperation, and encourages young people to be active participants in the world society. It has been used as a platform for the youth from the South (developing world) to highlight the voices that would otherwise have difficulty in arriving to the Northern public. Through this page both youth from the South and North broaden their understanding by learning from the south and north perspectives. This blog is available at ungdomspanelet.fn.no

 

On the other hand, the youth panels of Norway and Tanzania have Facebook group and fun pages where more than 2000 young people are gathered, they use this platform to receive updates and notification when new posts or articles have been uploaded to the blog. Through these pages all young people who are not in the panel can have an opportunity to raise any interesting youth topic and have the rest sharing their opinion; these pages are also used as youth platform for young people to express their views on what is happening in the world, sharing different links, updates, receiving information from their UNAs etc. Information posted in these pages is mostly in Norwegian, English and Swahili; Swahili and Norwegian gives a chance to other young people of Tanzania and Norway who cannot communicate in English, while English stands as an international language that connects other youth from different part of the world. These pages are found on Facebook (i) FN-Sambandets Ungdomspanel and (ii) UNAs South-North Youth Panel.

 

In the process of promoting this project to reach and benefit more young people, UNA Tanzania invited a group of young leaders from the UN Clubs and YUNA Chapters to participate in a discussion on “what effective measures should be taken to make the project benefit more young people”. During the session a number of presentations were made by the project coordinator of Tanzania, and participants reviewed the articles then gave their opinion in a brainstorming discussion.

UNA Youth Leaders in a Session: Photo by Moses Mongo, UNA Tanzania

The following are some of quoted opinion collected from the youth of UNA Tanzania:
Dickson Mazanda: “It will be nice to have higher number of young people invited to the page; this will extend the capacity building opportunity to more youth through that educative information work done by their fellow youth. Many young people tend to speak from abstract because of lack of information, knowledge comes from information and here we have seen a plenty of social development articles posted on the blog and Facebook encouraging youth people to take part in the movement for development. All this is offered to us for free, let’s all use them to shape our nations»

 

Lilian Mwamba: “It is a good step towards awareness and encouraging young people to take action in serious issues that our communities face every day. It may be more practical and effective if more support and opportunities like these continue to be opened for young people and have them involved in the discussion for solution. These articles can be used as source of information to debating sessions that will perpetuate and develop critical thinking in finding solutions; through this we can also learn how to speak in favor of the poor and be part of the solution in our communities and become good citizens… Prior to debating sessions, young people will seek for more information facing those who are suffer and share facts and findings the session to defend and on the other hand those in a position to take the blame will look for reasons which might have been source of which the community don’t know about; through that more hidden issues can be raised and give the opportunity to youth to learn and contribute towards solution in their societies for social development. These hints can be shared to our fellow youth in the Northern communities and give them a chance to learn and make them conversant as well about these issues».

 

Greyson S. George: “This page is one of rare and useful pages you may find; the most special thing is; articles are prepared by young people themselves targeting to raise awareness to their fellow youth in the world. It attracts a lot youth interests since it is a typical youth-to-youth peer learning page; promoting human rights, education, poverty reduction, gender balance, environmental sustainability, call for different actions to support and help orphans, children in child-labor etc… it is a good platform for we young people to speak out and discuss our problems. Let’s make a full use of it».

 

Youth Leaders Gathered For a Group Photo After Opinion Sharing Meeting: Photo by Moses Mongo

 

After a brief introduction about the South-North project and reading few quotations from the youth leaders: Please share us your opinion or suggestion on “what effective measures should be taken to make the project benefit more young people” Your feedback can help more young people of the world and improve our service for you

UN Photo – Jean Pierre Laffont

Due to expansion of economy in the world, labor or manpower is highly needed to fulfill the economic needs and generate capital with high production. Not all economic systems and enterprises are capable of using advanced technology in the productions for higher productivity. So due to that, children and teenagers enter the risk of being used as cheap labor; most of these children are vulnerable due to poverty, they are unaware of their rights, overworked, can’t resist and they don’t know what kind of negative repercussions can they get after all work they are told to do at work.

According to UNICEF, many third world countries are leading in child labor. This is due to extreme poverty facing these countries. In Africa child labor is like in a legal system. Children are employed in various sectors with low wages, nobody cares about their health and if they go to school or not. In other countries like Somalia, Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan as well as in Liberia by 1990’s, children have been employed as soldiers. According to ILO report, in big cities like Abuja in Nigeria, Dakar in Senegal, Nairobi Kenya and Kampala in Uganda, children are employed in industries and other machine workshop, with no any protective tools for their health. Sometimes they are not paid and fail to know where to report the matter.

United Nations through UNICEF reduces and prohibits child labour among the member state. Also through Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), United Nations in goal number two which aims at achieving universal primary education, it has provided both girl and boy child a chance to attend and complete full course of primary schooling regardless of race, religion, or differences in economic capacity of the families.

UNICEF has become a very good ambassadorial child organization in the world. It has touched a lot of children’s lives and become their hope. Many orphans and refugees children who lost their hopes were brought back to life. ILO is another UN organization that supported these efforts by prohibiting a person under 18 years old to be employed; all these efforts have helped to reverse child labour.

In Tanzania child labour still exists locally. This is due to the number of factors one of which being poverty. Most of these cases tend to happen in mining areas like Geita, Nyamongo, Buzwagi, Nyarugusu and Mererani; many children are there either employed as cheap laborers or employed themselves. In large cities like Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Arusha and in Zanzibar Island, children coming from the poor families are employed as house maids. Some of these children are manipulated to sell their bodies. In remote areas children are forced in agricultural activities and girls get married earlier by force from greedy parents with interest of receiving dowry.

If these children continue to be abused, what kind of future generation are we creating? According to my view, I think it is inhuman to continue being selfish by taking care of our children in our families and do nothing about those who need our attention the most. Every child has a dream that needs assistance from their elders, brothers and sisters; they need strong organizations, government leaders, families, individuals to support them and stand for their rights. I don’t think employing them at that age will bring any good to us and our society.

Dr. Dlamini Zuma – The First Woman as African Union (AU) Commision Chairperson – UN Photo

In our African societies, girls/women are brought up by their parents and guardians in a way that they can become tolerant, strong with domestic works and also submissive to men, this is how some of our societies believe girls should be raised up to become good women in the society. A lot of oppression may come with humiliation keeping them far from many rights versus men, and this culture make men more superior e.g. In several African traditions, most of women don’t have the right to inheritance, not involved in decision making and in some society it is not easy for women to be elected or appointed as leaders.

In rural areas these stereotypes still exist associated with a lot of myth, taboos to help these practices firm. In urban areas lifestyle has changed a lot compared to the rural parts. Lack of education among people, access to newspapers, television, absence of NGOs supporting women rights with legal aid provision in the villages have been great contributing factors to this challenge.

Hon. Ellen Johnson the first Woman President in Liberia, Africa – UN Photo

In rural areas, some men marry a lot women with an intension of using women like tools for works where use them during cultivation season by having them doing a lot of cultivation «hand hoe work», and in the harvest season a man become the one to sell crops and even misspend the whole money alone. Sometimes I even ask myself “why does it sound so impolite in my society to say women should also have the right to marry many men as men do?”. Arranged and forced marriage is also another factor treating human being like commodities this is very unacceptable and very irritating to see some parents arranging marriages and negotiating for dowry out of girl’s will sometimes not even consulting her, what only matter with these type of parents is wealth they need for their survival by exchanging their daughters for cows that’s it! Sad enough, most of the Women Legal Aid NGOs are concentrated in town and big cities while most of problems these problems are in the villages and small towns.

Domestic violence is another scenario, some women get chased away by the relatives of their husbands after their husbands have passed away without any right to inherit anything based on many tradition rules, and this happens a lot more when kids are still young or a woman didn’t happen to have kids before the loss of her husband. Some get beaten by their husbands and strange enough in some tribes like Kurya, women also consider an act of getting beaten is an expression of love from their husbands from my opinion I think Kurya women need to wake up and learn to press back against this violence since there is nothing like love in violence, violence is violence and it is against the law and human rights! Some get beaten severely.

All these have created a lot of inferiority complex among African women, this makes them feel inferior and submissive to men, lost confidence to stand against men in elections, academic affairs, affected their choices in job carrier and studies. Most of decent jobs are considered to be men’s job and the opposite is meant for women. I think there must be many women regretting to be born women due to these immoral traditions existing in our societies.

 

Dr. Asha Rose Migiro – First Woman as Deputy UN Secretary General from Tanzania, Africa – UN Photo

In Tanzania, the government and other stakeholders have made a step towards women empowerment despite of a great demand to still be there. The government formed special seats in the parliament (Appointed Member of Parliaments) for women in order to increase a number of women in the parliament where many women have shown their good leadership capacities that inspired many, this has changed a lot of peoples stereotypes and started to vote for women and women started to come out and contest even for the highest posts in the government. In the education sector, science studies pass marks for girls are lower than boys’ this also has promoted many girls to go for science studies of which were firstly considered to be boys/men’s studies, law reform at the national level and formation of bylaws at grassroots level have been developed to promote and protect women’s rights and developments etc. This has given a lot of boost for women in Tanzania in their economic, political and social positions today. Despite of all good achievements still more work need to be done especially in the rural part where people are still very traditional.

United Nations initiated different programs and projects to promote women’s developments and women rights in Africa and the world through its agencies including UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). UN has also been promoting gender equality through Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the goal number 3 of Women Empowerment and Gender Equality” demanding to increase the number of girls participation in the in the higher education etc; different statistics have shown improvement in this area of UN work but still more work is need to be done.

Wangari Maathai founder of Green Belt Movement and Nobel Prize Winner from Africa – UN Photo

From my opinion, I think the best change is that one coming from the society itself, we don’t need to wait until laws and bylaws are made to push us to do the right thing for our own sake, just from the common sense these traditions do not make sense at all. Respecting and valuing women as our dear sisters and mothers and getting rid of those negative myth, stereotypes, taboos or anything associated with bad culture and traditions can be the best way to make a positive change in our societies. Women have great link of making a good society and the best way to develop any society in the world is to develop women first, they are the ones taking more risks with the families, suffer the most from the poverty effects, rising up children of the world who later become good or bad leaders. If it starts with us young people of our generation then we will have cured the rest of generation to come. All human are equal and deserve respect equally let’s stop this violence and promote human rights my fellow youth. Gender has nothing to do with success or developments, anybody can become anyone in this world it is all about our minds.

 

UN Photo by Jenny Rockett taken when the former Deputy Secretary General Dr. Asha Rose Migiro from Tanzania was addressing during Stand Up and Take Action campaign.

Poverty can be defined in various context and levels. It can be defined at individual level, national level and world wide. At individual level Poverty refers to the state of lacking basic needs like food, shelter, clothes, and clean water. In national level Poverty reflects on how the country is incapable on bringing social services to the citizens. World wide is where the country fails to compete with other countries in the world economy. There for you can feel on how to live in poverty is.

In Africa particularly in Sub-Saharan countries, poverty seems as if its where is originated or deserve to be. People especially youth are the ones who feel the negative impacts. Many people live under $ 1 per day and this creates illiteracy to youth as many of their parents fail to afford to the school fees, increase of child mortality rate, spread of malaria, HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases. Also poverty is among the greatest causative of civil wars in Africa where we witness youth being recruited as soldiers. So what future generation are we creating?.

In Tanzania poverty has be come as the part of our life. This is due to unequal distribution of national cake, and extreme corruption. The impact of all these go direct to the Tanzanian youths. That is why others run from their village to the cities to find jobs, others join gangs and become thieves, others fall into prostitution so as to earn for their living, and others drop from school after lacking school fees. But others start small business in towns and streets with low capital but still the government relocates them to remote areas with their business.

United Nations through UNDP has achieved in raising Agricultural productivity in many Sub-Saharan countries like Malawi, Kenya, and Tanzania. United Nations through the MDG’s report shows how the rate of poverty has decreased from nearly a third to less than one fifth between 1990 and 2010. Child mortality rate has declined globally this is according to UNICEF. In addition the World Bank provides developing countries with loans and grants around $18-$20 billion a year also has supported more than 9500 development projects since 1945.

With poverty, life is crazy, pathetic and formidable, and the ones affected much are we young people, hence some found themselves in early and forced marriage for some parents to win dowry, by using youth as the source of income to solve poverty. Poverty creates classes among youth from rich and poor families or a country and a country. Poverty causes many youth to drop out from their studies and looses their future. Others become drug dealers and others even commit suicide.

From all these, it’s my call to my fellow youth not to give up because no one knows how our tomorrow or destiny will be. Our future can be determined by what we do today for tomorrow in every single day of our life and little thing we do in every second, we have hands to build and we have hands to destroy our lives as well, it’s up to us to make the right choices and fight for them very hard.

Despite the condition we are going through, the fight against poverty has to continue and we must hate poverty and corruption as our enermies no. 1 together with doing legal works that needs to be done until we see doors opening for our financial freedom and the world. Efforts and tireless struggle pays very well, nothing good comes easily and anything that comes easily goes the way it comes. With hope and hard working everything will open, every successful person we see started small and grow bigger with hope, good plan and hard working. We can make it!

 

UN Photo by Milton Grant

Lake Victoria is the largest freshwater lake in Africa and the second biggest in the world. It is located in East Africa around the East African countries which are Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. Tanzania covers the largest part of the Lake followed by Uganda and Kenya occupies the smallest portion of it.

More that 40 million of people use it for their social-economic activities, which build the strong cooperation among the East African countries.

To the side of my country (Tanzania), the fishermen situation goes bad day after day. These people conduct fishing activities within the islands found in the Lake Victoria. Despite the fact that those activities contribute much in the national income but still fishermen face many challenges. For instance lack of capital to generate their activities, absence of fishing experts, good fishing technology hence some it conduct very locally and get less, good security patrol as some in a very small scale conduct illegal fishing either by using poison or dynamite to easily catch a lot and affect people.

Most of fishermen are uninformed where some are illiterate, lack social services like media, health services, better shelter and schools. HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is very high compared to the mainland, there is a lot of water borne disease there, like diarrhea, dysentery and malaria despite of this situation health services are inadequate, you will find a lot of medical stores there where people take medicines without diagnostic as laboratories are few. People die every day due to lack of hospitals.

In general fishermen in around the Lake live in isolated environments; even most of leaders are not that informed about what happens in the islands, most are scared to often go there due to the risky of poor means of transport to reach those remote islands; despite of all the fact that fishermen also deserve all benefits as other citizens living in the mainland.

The world understand the importance of Lake Victoria fishermen in international marketing where tones of fish fillets are processed in Tanzania where people get a job to do, exported to Europe, America where our countries gain foreign currencies. United Nations has established and sponsored various projects based on sustainable fishing development. This is implemented by various UN agencies like UNDP, UNAIDS and UN HABITANT. All studies have shown HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is veryhigh. This shows these islands need special attention to help the lives of these uninformed poor communities before it is too late.

As I see it, a lot more work needs to be done. This is not only in Tanzania but in all regions of East Africa as we are in a shared Lake. Let’s not only enjoy what is brought by the fishermen to our table and our economy without considering their challenges. Nobody cares or ask why no enough schools in islands, no electricity, no enough dispensaries/hospitals, what about the lives of pregnant women in the islands, people die everyday not even appearing in the newspapers.

Majority of fishermen working in the islands are young people who sacrificed to work for their countries and feed the world. Something needs to be done for our fellow young people in the islands with their poor families which live in isolated islands. Spoiling the future of these young fishermen with their working environments is destruction of the existence of Lake Victoria with its resources that can be seen even more in few years to come. We young people need to wake up and start to speak for our fellow young fishermen in every little we do everywhere!

 

UN Photo by B. Wolff

People do say “life is not fair” but in the African village this has exceeded. Nobody cares about what is going on in these villages. The village communities are real neglected. Many people or organizations do go to the villages just for their own interests which have nothing to do with the village dwellers/the most needy communities.

People tend to help the villagers’ communities from the problems but behind the scene majority are exploiters pushing these communities into a deep sea of poverty which has no hope or any future!

In Tanzania, village life is worse. No adequate social services like media, schools, hospitals, electricity and clean water. Also the infrastructures are dead and in other places are completely absent. That’s why many people particularly youth who are reliable man power source in the villages run to the big cities. Even educated people who are originally come from these villages, don’t take deliberate initiative to improve their very home communities and do run to the “white collar jobs” in large cities.

Disappointing enough, politicians do visit villages to win their interest/election by taking advantage of these uninformed communities, uninformed due to poor access to media e.g. news papers, televisions or even from majority being illiterate. But after election they all shift to the cities. Businessmen do visit in the harvest season and fix prices of crops for their own benefit and leave these villages communities in the darkness of poverty and give up.

United Nations through the program of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), brings light and hope to the village life. For example MD Goal  1: intend to Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger through reducing by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar per day. Also through Goal number 2: it focuses on Achieving Universal Primary Education through ensuring that all boys and girls complete primary school. Furthermore, MD Goal 4 and 5 intends to Reduce Child Mortality Rate and Improve Maternal Health. These UN Millennium Development Goals binds African governments to increase attention to the villages, hence village communities benefit least. Majority of the African community resides in rural areas.

Now if many African countries depends on Agriculture as their economic back bone as said or proven; and agriculture is done in the villages by these uninformed, disorganize and neglected poor villagers, how will these African countries rise and become economic independent? For example Tanzanian Economy depends heavily on agriculture despite that only 5% of the Tanzanians land has been used for agriculture, agricultre accounts for more than one-quarter of GDP, provides 85% of exports, and employs about 80% of the work force who are youth… and still not so much has been done to protect, encourage, fully support villagers/producers/heroes of that economy back bone.

 

If African countries really want to develop and cut down this scourge of dependency, unemployment among African youth then more energy needs to be directed to these poor villagers. More calls for support from donors, governments, non governmental organizations from developed and developing countries really need to be meaningful for these poor villagers. The best doctors to the victims of drought in the horn of Africa are these poor villagers who can produce enough food for the Africa and the world if provided with enough support and facilities to improve their working environment. There is where some most of girls even get married while under 18 years old for parents to get dowry which normally come in a form of cows, money, all in all intending to cope with  their poverty stresses or pain… something which is completely unacceptable to all smart young people of the world!

 

To my little knowledge I would like to advise the government, non governmental organizations and my fellow youth to provide equal services and opportunities from whatever little we have to both urban and village areas.  I’m sure youth can stay in their homes either in urban or rural if services and living environment are improved. Mind that African Development without village life improvement is like pushing car while you are inside.

 

UN Photo by John Isaac

Soon after independence, many African countries found themselves in Civil Wars and Chaos. There are many factors behind that situation. Some of them are border conflicts like Tanzania and Uganda in 1970s, Somalia and Kenya in 1980s etc. Again tribalism and religious extremism are other aspect leading us into civil wars, like the chaos happening in Nigeria today including Biafra war in Nigeria in 1960’s, as well as in Kenya, Sudan and Somalia.

Another issue is greediness of power among Africa politicians also creates a lot of disputes e.g N.R.A rebellions in Uganda and Al-Shabaab rebellions in Somalia etc.

African countries/African Union seems to be like the toothless bull dog(s) when it comes to opposing this situation or it might be that our countries don’t bite enough: for example, the Organization of Africa Union (O.A.U) which today is known as African Union (A.U); by then failed to remove UNITA rebellions in Angola until 2002 when Jonas Savimbi died himself; also O.A.U turned a blind eye on genocide happened in Rwanda; And we didn’t aggressively resist against Biafra or fully organize ourselves for disciplinary measures against Al-Shabaab in Somalia; neither end Civil War in Sudan, Congo D.R.C nor settle disputes in Egypt, even to stop the movements of tuareg rebellion in Mali.

Me individually as an African Youth, I believe the rest of youth people in Tanzania, Norway and the World will support the idea of putting more stresses to the A.U to do a lot more than the good job it is doing with consideration that Africa itself economically struggle even to stand for itself, war is another heavy and expensive burden to it.

Being the object which keeps and maintain peace in the world, United Nations has opened eyes on African Civil Wars from the Human Development Report of 2011; UNDP tries to spread the ideas of Democracy and Good Governance in Africa. Also UN provides the reconciliation and conflict resolution, for example in Sierra Leone, Syria and Ivory Coast.

But only this is not sufficient/enough, we need UN to stop Neo-Colonialism in Africa. UN must ensure no supply of deadly weapons in Africa, it has to keep doing a lot more job on this specific area than what it has done or doing today.

Therefore let us ask ourselves, why this happens mostly in Africa? Where is our future? Where is the destiny of youth recruited in rebellion’s troops? What’s the African-world future generation are we creating? Our choice is our destiny so let us wake up and built up our new Africa. We youth need food, quality education, better living condition and peace; we don’t need the deadly weapons which are exchanged with our diamonds and gold. We are tired to live in refugee camps and we are tired from keep running from our own countries.

Youth of the world need to join our efforts from wherever we are and in whatever we are planning to do; big and small countries make the whole world a better place to live and not just parts of it.