Empowering youth in Tanzania

Article, 22.04.2024

On 18 April, the Embassy of Switzerland in Tanzania joined the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Government of Tanzania to launch the second phase of the Safeguard Young People (SYP) programme.

Excited youth at the launch event.
Excited youth at the launch event. © UNFPA Tanzania

SYP is a regional youth programme that started in 2013 in eight Southern Africa countries - Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In 2021, it expanded to Angola, Mozambique, Rwanda and Tanzania. The goal of the youth-focused programme is to improve the health and well-being of adolescents and young people aged between 10 and 24 years, with emphasis on improving sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and gender equality among young people. 

In Tanzania, the programme focuses on creating a conducive political, legal and policy environment, and developing the capacity for Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights and Youth Participation. At regional- and district-levels, interventions focus on strengthening institutions' capacity to deliver quality Comprehensive Sexuality Education/Life Skills (CSE) and Social Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) for in-school and out-of-school young people. Further, the programme supports the scaling up of integrated youth-friendly service provision in selected regions – Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Kigoma, Shinyanga, Simiyu, and Unguja and Pemba in Zanzibar.

In his remarks at the launch event, the Ambassador of Switzerland to Tanzania Didier Chassot acknowledged the challenges that exist due to the high rate of population growth in Tanzania, especially for young people. “These challenges affect the health, economic, psychological and social outcomes, and need to be tackled without delay,” he said. “That is why we believe programmes such as the SYP are so important”.

To date, SRHR programmes are estimated to reach less than half of the eligible young population. The SYP programme contributes to the improved SRHR status of young women and men through scaling up SRHR/HIV prevention models and youth friendly health services (YFHS) in order to equip young people with knowledge, skills and values to protect themselves and capacitate national counterparts to improve the legislative environment and address young people’s health issues.

The UNFPA Representative in Tanzania Mark Bryan Schreiner emphasized on the programme’s critical contribution in supporting Tanzania to unlock a unique opportunity to invest in the young human capital and reap the social and economic benefits – harnessing the so-called Demographic Dividend. “Now is the time for Tanzania,” he noted.

The second phase of the SYP programme builds on the results from the first phase (2021-2023) where policy instruments on youth development, life skills education, and male engagement were developed; CSE was integrated in national folk development colleges’ curricula and education practitioners capacitated; young people were trained on advocacy, leadership and entrepreneurship skills; out-of-school and in-school young people were reached with SRHR information and youth-friendly health services through trained providers; and a selected few district-level health care centres were refurbished to provide youth-friendly services.

The Guest of Honour at the launch, Honourable Patrobas Katambi, the Deputy Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office – Labour, Youth Employment and Persons with Disability, unveiled the official SYP music video Kijana Acha Alama (Young Person, Leave Your Mark).

“The SYP programme in Tanzania is part of the implementation of the National Agenda”, said the Deputy Minister. “It is important for our youth as it aims to protect them and also prepare them to hold various leadership positions”.