Grab opportunities, Mwinyi tells youths

ZANZIBAR : PRESIDENT Hussein Ali Mwinyi on Saturday graced the International Youth Day (IYD)-2023 with a call on young people to utilise several opportunities available to them for their own development, the major goal being not to leave anyone behind.

The opportunities range from education, training, economic empowerment and health.

Addressing hundreds of enthusiastic young people who turned out to celebrate their day at Maisara Suleiman grounds here, Dr Mwinyi said recognising the important role of youths, the government is taking various measures to strengthen youths welfare and engagement on development issues in the isles.

“I take this opportunity to inform you that prepa- rations for the new Youth Development Policy in Zanzibar have been completed and will be launched soon,” said Dr Mwinyi, calling upon public institutions, Development Partners, private institutions and Youth Councils among others to participate fully in its implementation in arriving at the intended goals.

He highlighted on efforts to improve youth wellbeing, indicating that the govern- ment through the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) established and developed a total of 13 youth- friendly health care centres in all districts of Zanzibar.

The facilities have continued to provide services to ensure young people live healthy. He revealed that many young people have been using contraceptive methods without the advice of health experts, something which has led to negative health consequences, making them think that the methods were not safe, saying the problem lies in lack of correct knowledge on their intake.

Due to the importance of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in youth development, he noted that the government plans to embark on construction of IT training centres in each region of Unguja and Pemba Islands.

He expressed optimism that the IT centres will accelerate the development of young people in Zanzibar, keeping in pace with the current world of science and technology.

Each year, International Youth Day focuses on a specific theme that highlights dif- ferent aspects of empowering and nurturing youths and in this year, the selected theme is ‘Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World.’

Dr Mwinyi cited the theme as timely, given the fact that the country and many nations around the world are facing negative impacts of climate change linked to degradation and pollution, therefore the theme aims to encourage, promote and develop skills and innovations for young people in environmental issues and the green economy in creating more jobs for them while increasing food production.

This message, he said, also aims to strengthen proper man- agement of the environment by preserving and developing natural resources for the pres- ent and future generations.

As such, President Mwinyi urged various institutions and stakeholders to continue strengthening education in the promotion of green economy for young people to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include strengthening participation of youth in conservation and development of the environment.

Attributing statistics from the 2022 Population and Housing Census, he said Zanzibar accumulates a total of 699,845 youths, equivalent to 37.3 per cent of the entire population, up from 36.24 per cent in 2002.

On the other hand, accord- ing to the Integrated Labour Force Survey for 2020/2021, youths make up 57.7 per cent of Zanzibar’s workforce.

“In light of the role of young people, the government is taking various steps to ensure youths can employ themselves or are being employed as well as appointed to leadership posi- tions where they are progressing very well,” he said.

Other measures of pro- moting youth development include the establishment of the Ministry of Youths. In terms of employment,

Dr Mwinyi said Zanzibar and the Union government have established a special mechanism under the Public Service Act 2008 which provides 21 per cent of available job opportunities in the union government to Zanzibar youths.

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