The United Republic of Tanzania’s Ministry of Labour, Employment and Youth Development recognizes the crucial role sports play in young people’s development. However, people in the country have been doing little to develop youth talents, resulting in inadequate facilities for sports and training grounds. The following information examines the situation along with the efforts to promote the youth sports empowerment programs in Tanzania and the organizations at the forefront of the movement.
The Tanzanian government focuses on youth development since youth make up 18% of the population. However, with three-quarters of youth employment in agriculture and rapid urbanization, youth are vulnerable in the labor market. Less than 12% of the total population completes lower secondary education, and those with post-secondary education earn approximately 40 times more than the general population. To change this, many organizations are using sports to give underprivileged youth the skills they need to secure job opportunities.
The UN’s Leadership Camp
The U.N. acknowledges the role of sports in empowering underprivileged youth from Sub-Saharan Africa. It established a leadership camp consisting of 30 young people serving as leaders in their communities. The U.N. Office on Sport for Development and Peace ran this initiative and addressed topics such as health, education and gender. The U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Wilfried Lemke, stated that “The United Nations has long understood the unique power of sport for change, but for change to happen, strong leadership is needed.”
Youth Sports Empowerment Programs in Tanzania
The Tanzanian nonprofit organization Foundation For Civil Society (FCS) is implementing youth-focused projects in six regions of Tanzania. These projects use educational sports and games to mobilize youth in the suburbs of Dar es Salaam. This establishes a beneficial platform between youth and their leaders.
Umoja Tanzania is an NGO that partners with Umoja UK and Global Development Group to support Tanzanian youth. Umoja focuses on 55.33% of unemployed youth who lack alternatives in education or employment. The organizations YES! program transforms young lives through sports. In disadvantaged communities in Tanzania, youth learn inclusion, empowerment and sustainability. These sports and activities not only teach new skills but build confidence and self-esteem in youth.
Since more than 75% of Africa’s total population is under 35 years old, young people face profound challenges. Africare is an NGO that works to build sustainable, healthy and productive communities. Without the right resources, youth are vulnerable to drugs and crime. Africare’s Kick AIDS project uses soccer to create positive environments, engaging young people in HIV prevention education. Africare’s Northern Region Kick AIDS soccer league educated 1,380 youths in the Sports For Life curriculum about how healthy behaviors keep them safe as they enter adulthood.
While youth in Tanzania suffer from a lack of resources, sports provide a foundation for teaching life skills and economic development. Youth sports empowerment programs in Tanzania not only encourage youth to seek out jobs but provide them with an encouraging environment to grow physically and professionally.
– Erica Fealtman