Friday, October 21, 2011
Josephine Mwakisambwe, one of the youth representatives from Tanzania is a youth activist and currently a medical student in a college in Tanzania. “It is an honor for me to attend the 7th UNESCO Youth forum. It is my 1st time to ever attend such an international youth conference. I have enjoyed it all through.” She says.
Josephine says she has a passion for almost everything that affects the youth, especially unemployment. “Unemployment is actually a big issue on the planet. It is actually a time bomb that we have in our hands and it is going to explode anytime.“ she says cautiously.
But Josephine is hopeful. “I think whatever youth are doing to tackle the issues of unemployment, they are just not getting there because the policies that are made to tackle unemployment are not sufficient.”
To tackle the increasing rate of unemployment, Josephine advocates for government to put more effort in supporting self-employment or initiatives that will encourage more youth to venture into entrepreneurship. “Lack of capital, lack of experience and access to bank loan is still a challenge.” She says.
“I would like to see everybody doing something to have an income, an income that will facilitate youth to get out of poverty. I want to see the youth in my country get out of poverty so that they can afford quality education, quality healthcare etc.”
Youth participation in development in Tanzania is on the rise.
“At first we used to think older group of the population can bring change but as time go on, nothing changes. The youth are engaging themselves in matters that affect them. They want to be involved in decision-making. They are speaking up. A case-study is seen in how youth are joining the opposition party because it has open doors for youth to express themselves.”
According to Josephine, before 2010, the percentage of youth that voted in Tanzania was really low. “But we are trying to advocate that the number increase. Trust me by 2015, there will be a major change.” She chirps.
Overall feedback about the 7th UNESCO Youth Forum
I asked Josephine if the forum met her expectations.
She said the forum being her first experience in international conference met her expectation. “But even if something is good, there must be a better way to polish it.” She adds.
She suggested that the forum should in future be more interactive. “The youth should be given more time to speak out, not just speeches but more workshop should be included. We have very many great ideas. People have the zeal to make change and they want to be heard. More time should increase for interaction and debate.”
After the forum, Josephine says that she will go back to Tanzania and share her experience with her peers.
“…the problem that we face are the same. The unemployment is all over, the education is poor almost everywhere, the cultural changes needs to be addressed. I want to go back to the youth in the interiors of Tanzania and tell them about this.”
Josephine hopes to inspire others to take action and tackle the issues of a shared global challenge.
Josephine, during the forum, served as the African representative on the drafting committee. Now that the draft report is ready to be presented to the member state representatives during UNESCO General Conference, she says “It is my hope that the world leaders will take our recommendations seriously. Even if they don’t, we will continue to push for change. We will plant that seed for change and the seed will grow. Having African solutions to Africa’s problems will help.”
To learn more about UNESCO Youth forum, click here: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/social-and-human-sciences/themes/social-transformations/youth/youth-forums/7th-unesco-youth-forum/
Posted by Jennifer Ehidiamen at 11:29 AM