The general election that will take place on Sunday 25th October 2015 in Tanzania will be a pivotal moment for young Tanzanian's involvement in their society. The youth population (14 - 25 years old) has almost doubled from 4.4 million in 1990 to 8.1 million in 2010, meaning young people make up a crucial voting demographic.
Restless Development Tanzania is calling on the political system in Tanzania to engage with the increased appetite of youth to participate in voting and leadership positions, which Restless Development has observed through our engagement of first-time voters across the country.
Margaret Mliwa, Tanzania Country Director for Restless Development, said:
As the majority of the population, the voice of young people must be heard in this election. A peaceful, fair, and energetically democratic election depends on the contribution of informed, involved, and empowered young Tanzanians. And whoever our new President and politicians maybe, youth have got their own manifesto outlining their priorities which you can be sure they will hold our leaders accountable to.
Some of the work we have been doing to support young voters is:
Working with girls to encourage them to see politics as their domain too.
Sending SMS messages to remind people about the voting process: 300,000 SMS messages in total on voting station opening times, registration details, confidentiality of voting, rejecting outside influence.
Youth-led activities by volunteers: focus groups, first-time voters in schools teaching others how to use the ballot paper in voting stations, sport and cultural ‘bonanzas’ encouraging peaceful elections by being intermediaries between youth, community, religious and government institutions.
Peace meetings in the communities: to defuse conflict by creating discussion within communities.
A project to articulate youth needs better to decision makers: as part of the Constitution review last year, young people met MPs and constitution drafters, and it resulted in a new proposed amendment to ratify a National Youth Council.
Building capacity of 18 youth networks in 18 districts.
Supporting 700 young people to take up decision making roles at local community level.
Watch this popular music video written by Restless Development election team member Noah, encouraging young people to use the power of their vote.
To find out the priorities of this young, crucial voting demographic, Restless Development conducted a survey of a total of 276,300 young Tanzanians through interviews, questionnaires and social media across the country, to find out what issues they care most about.