Mwinyi hails transformative 24.8bn/- youth project

ZANZIBAR President Hussein Mwinyi has hailed the United States’ funded youth project totalling 10.6 million US dollars (about 24.8bn/-), terming it as transformative.

He said that to further advance the scheme, the government is reviewing the 2005 Youth Development Policy, so that it can accommodate the current and future needs of young people.

Dr Mwinyi made the remarks on Wednesday, when he graced the launch of the project that was attended by some Representatives from the United States government and the government of Zanzibar at the Maisara grounds in Isles.

He added: “The government is reviewing the policy, so that it can accommodate the current and future needs of young people, including considering the importance of  ICT (Information and Communication Technologies), for development as well as the changes that occur in the country and in the world as a whole.”

Dubbed ‘Kijana Nahodha project’, the four-year project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), aims to provide skills to young Tanzanians and help them become agents of change in their communities.

Dr Mwinyi applauded the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports, T-MARC Tanzania and USAID for initiating the Kijana Nahodha project, which further cements cooperation between the United States and Zanzibar and Union government in general.

Dr Mwinyi explained that the US government has always been at the forefront of supporting Zanzibar and the Union government in efforts to attain development goals in various sectors.

“The youth are the workforce in any country; therefore, they need to be well trained and prepared so that they can contribute to the development. It is unfortunate that this group has been facing many challenges including unemployment,” Dr Mwinyi said.

However, he regretted that some young people are trapped in narcotic drug use, unplanned/early pregnancy and early marriage, HIV/AIDS and stress, which lead to mental health, violence and sexual harassment and misuse of ICT, particularly social media.

Dr Mwinyi said that the project launch is one of the efforts taken by the eighth phase Zanzibar government in collaboration with development partners and various stakeholders in the country to help improve the social well-being of the youth.

The president said that the project tops-up many programmes already taking place to empower young people such as proper utilisation of IMF Covid-19 relief fund by providing them with loans, capacity building and promoting vocational training courses.

Kijana Nahodha will be implemented by T-MARC, a non-civil indigenous organisation in the regions of Dar es Salaam, Morogoro and Zanzibar, (Unguja and Pemba islands).

It is a cross-sectoral project that works in the employment, education, agriculture, good governance and health sectors and aims to build the capacity of young people between the ages of 15-25.

In her address, the Minister of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports Ms Tabia Maulid Mwita said the capacity building includes increasing the availability and quality of various skills; vocational training.

It also includes improving mental health awareness through digital education tools and strengthening open channels of communication between youth and local governments to raise the voices of youth in civic life, politics and policy making.

Speaking at this event, USAID Resident Director Kate Somvongsiri said, “Through Kijana Nahodha, we aim to empower young people through various skills; proper knowledge of running a business; support from their family, community and government; so that they can have opportunities through education and knowledge.”

The Kijana Nahodha project hopes to empower more than 45,000 young people – approximately 10,000 from Zanzibar and 35,000 in the two targeted regions of the mainland.

Somvongsiri said the project will back the already good operation of the Zanzibar Youth Council from the Shehia level to the national level.

“On behalf of the United States government, I extend my gratitude to the Zanzibar president for his leadership and support in empowering Tanzanian youth. I am encouraged by the abundant opportunities for education, agribusiness and entrepreneurship that exist here in Zanzibar,” she said.

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