Amplified voices of young leaders and change makers

The Kijana Wajibika project, which has been implemented in the Temeke Municipality (part of the capital Dar es Salaam), Morogoro Town, and Rural Iringa District, has provided training for 20 young people (9 Youth Accountability Advocates and 11 youth researchers) to improve their capacity to enter into dialogue with their local government representatives using data-driven accountability skills.

The programme supported these young people to collect and interpret data that is relevant to their lives and livelihoods. All of the groups focused initially on collecting data about Tanzania’s Youth Development Fund (YDF). The YDF, first launched in 1994, obliges Local Government Authorities (LGAs) to provide 5% of local revenues to youth groups in the form of low interest loans. The Youth Accountability Advocates and Research Assistants interviewed the leaders of 58 youth groups, across all 3 districts, who were beneficiaries of a youth development fund loan in the year 2015/2016. The survey results brought three main issues to light:

  1. Only 12 percent of young women had a top leadership position in all the groups which participated in this survey.
  2. About 50 percent of the group leaders interviewed reported to have a member of the benefited group who is above 35 years of age, contrary to the government directive of 2013 stating the beneficiaries of the youth fund should be aged between 15 -35.
  3. 6 out of 10 groups which took part in this survey revealed that they have experienced delays in funds disbursement as per the set date by the responsible authorities

This data allowed youth groups to decide what issues to focus on next in their communities. In the second round of data collection each region focused on a different topic chosen by the youth groups themselves. The survey topics were:

The results from both the first and second round of surveys were presented to 41 local decision makers in 6 policy dialogues across the 3 districts. The overall outcome was positive, with the data giving young people confidence and credibility when presenting their asks to government leaders, and also encouraging those leaders to take the requests of young people more seriously. The majority of decision makers took the issues identified by youth on board and worked together to come up with a solution that they agreed to uphold.

The groups now engage regularly with the municipal authority’s Youth Development Officer, and this has led to access to government-provided skills training and regular dialogue with decision makers in their locality; from the local community leaders to Ward Development Officers and beyond. The youth involved in the project report greater confidence and cohesion among group members and greater respect for young people amongst local leaders. This outcome is also confirmed by local leaders, who after being surveyed showed a change in their perceptions towards young people and an increase in their willingness to engage youth in government processes.

The success of the Kijana Wajibika project will now see it expanded into a new region: Dodoma.