Restless Development Tanzania recently participated in the Family Planning Conference in Dar es Salaam organized by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare from October 9-11, 2013 with the theme “Local Solutions to Local Problems: Advancing the Evidence-Base for Repositioning Family Planning in Tanzania”.
As one of the key family planning stakeholders in Tanzania, our main objective was to advocate for the role of young people as agents in family planning initiatives. Through our efforts of ensuring young people are taking up leadership roles on issues which affects their lives and community, we aimed at influencing policies and inspiring actions across various audiences, both from the government and private sector.
In collaboration with FHI 360 prepared and participated in the session of “Parade of Halls” and the exhibition which specifically focused on advocating for the roles of youth as agents to drive forward family planning in Tanzania.
Young people in Tanzania are a key population group facing both challenges and opportunities. Globally young People make up more than 50% of the population and this is expected to rise significantly in Africa, meaning 41% of the world’s youth will be African within the next three generations. In Tanzania, 66% of the total population are young people below the age of 25. 44% of women are mothers or pregnant with their first child by the age of 19 . Through Restless Development’s annual State of Youth Reports (2011, 2012), we have identified that few young people have access to youth-friendly Sexual Reproductive Health services and on top of that they don’t have adequate information on using contraceptives. Young Tanzanians also have very little access to Sexual Reproductive Health services - only 22% and 28% of schools in Tanzania Mainland cover sexuality and reproductive health issues.
We believe that young people are leaders with agency. There is a need to invest in young people in order to find solutions to the problems existing in society, especially on issues relating to family planning. Young people are disproportionally affected by these issues; their needs are often unrecognized despite the fact that they are the biggest demographic group in a community. It is very crucial to involve young people in solving their own challenges and this can be effectively done by joining hands with them.
Young people are the great asset in the community, yet not enough efforts are being taken to utilize their potential. There is a great connection between access to Sexual Reproductive Health services and education, labour, ownership, influence and engagement in programming. Access to and monitoring and implementation of family planning initiatives will experience much more success if young people are involved at all stages.
or Physical address:
Regent Business Park Building, Third Floor Wing B, P.O.BOX 35748 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.