Youth leadership and participation

The East and Southern Africa region has around 169 million young people aged 10 to 24 years, representing 31 per cent of the total population (2015) – and this proportion is growing. What happens to them in adolescence will influence not only the course their lives will follow, but that of the region as a whole.

The East and Southern Africa region has around 169 million young people aged 10 to 24 years, representing 31 per cent of the total population (2015) – and this proportion is growing. What happens to them in adolescence will influence not only the course their lives will follow, but that of the region as a whole.

A great deal is said about the importance of youth participation and voice. In reality, however, youth – especially girls and young women – rarely have opportunities to train and act as leaders or as advocates in places where the decisions that affect their lives and their human rights are made.

Promoting youth leadership and participation is key to UNFPA’s work in Tanzania. We actively engage young people in our work through the Youth Advisory Panel and advocate for their participation in the work of our partners, including in national planning and decision-making processes. We also  build the capacity of young people in leadership and meaningful participation and advocacy for the development of their communities and country as well as their access to sexual and reproductive health services.

We recognize that young people are diverse. The needs of a 12-year-old girl are very different from those of a 24-year-old male. And our policies and programmes for adolescents and youth take this diversity into account.

We provide financial and technical support to young people to organize themselves as networks (including AfriYAN) and assist them to access different fora (in Tanzania, in the African region or globally) so that they can represent youth voices and advocate for increased investment in their own development – nothing for young people without young people.

1. UNFPA Strategy on Adolescents and Youth, 2013