State of Youth in Tanzania:
Dilhani Wijeyesekera, Country Director
50% of the world’s population is under 25.That’s 3 billion people.
Young people are most affected by extreme poverty, lack of employment and poor health. All too often they are also the group with fewest opportunities to contribute to the decision making processes that could change this.
We know that the ‘restless’ energy of young people can drive positive change in communities, countries and the globe. We have seen it.
Young people are not only the leaders of tomorrow. They are leaders for today.
Young people will change the world. It’s a fact. Many examples in recent history from Syria to Kenya show that when young people are left out, they could make their choices without reference to society.
Young people are creative, open to change, energetic and resourceful. When we help young people to harness their potential –to have a voice and to lead-the impact is huge, positive and can result in benefits for all.
The question for us is what can we do to help to ensure their choices are positive? We are on the cusp of change; the world is becoming more youthful. The Un Secretary General has announced the prospective appointment of a Special Advisor on youth.
Why does this matter to Tanzania?
Tanzania is already the 10th largest youth population, 47% of the populations are under 15(Source: Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey 2010) and the ‘youth boom’ is expected in the next decade.
We need to prepare now for this shift.
Young people are burdened by three key challenges in their lives-staying healthy, achieving a sustainable income, and participating. We must learn now to include and engage young people in development and decision making.