Alumni TIES Impacting Youth Participation in Tanzania’s Democratic Governance

Alumni TIES
6 min readAug 10, 2023

by Frederick Fussi

Following my participation in the Alumni TIES Democracy Summit in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 14-18, 2022, I organized colleagues from the countries of Bolivia, Jordan, Morocco, Haiti, Lebanon, Bahrain, Nigeria, and Kenya to come up with the idea of #AmplifyGlobal. The idea won the Audience Choice Award during the summit. The theme of the seminar was on “Youth & Opportunity: Defending Democracy and Advancing Human Rights.”

A copy of the certificate of the Audience Choice Award for #AmplifyGlobal
Frederick Fussi and the #AmplifyGlobal team that won Audience Choice Award during Alumni TIES seminar in in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

After the seminar, there was a call for applications for Alumni TIES small grants and I created an application for #AmplifyGlobal to launch in Tanzania. This was the birth of the #AmplifyTanzania project. #AmplifyTanzania project stands for Analytical skills in Multiparty for Participation in Leadership and Inclusive democracy for Youth. The project’s main goal is to promote cross-party youth-centric opinions in addressing the gap on lack of strong voice of meaningful youth participation in governance, democracy, leadership, and reforms of multiparty democracy in Tanzania. My project team and I follow a theory of change for this project, “IF youth in political parties network with other youth in civil society organizations (CSOs), university students, young public servants and youth in business, and get trained on issue-based analysis, advocacy and engagement skills with government leaders THEN, they will be able to promote cross-party youth-centric opinions through issue-based digital surveys that will build evidence for strong voices in meaningful youth participation in governance, democracy, leadership and reforms of multiparty democracy in Tanzania.”

According to the 20222 national census, Tanzania’s population is 61 million, with an annual growth rate of 3.1%. The youth population between the ages of 15 and 35 constitutes more than 35% of the entire population. The country’s GDP growth rate was 4.3% in 2022. Tanzania enjoys a stable political and socio-economic development for six decades since independence from the Great Britain on December 9, 1961. There have been six consecutive five-year terms of parliamentary and presidential multi-party elections conducted from 1995 to 2020. Since then, the Revolutionary Party famously Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) have been winning all presidential elections while the opposition political parties garner minority seats and CCM retaining majority of parliamentary seats. Although there are 19 registered political parties, only five parties (CCM, Chadema, CUF, ACT-Wazalendo and NCCR-Mageuzi) were able to win parliamentary and local government elections. The five parties form the cross-party dialogue platform registered as the non-governmental organization known as Tanzania Center for Democracy (TCD).

Despite making up a significant proportion of the population in Tanzania, young people are underrepresented in the political process and often face barriers and challenges to engage in democratic representation. For example, in the Parliament, out of 393 Members of Parliament (MP), only 76 are the youth between the age of 21 and 40 years, which is approximately 19% of all the MPs. This results in their voices and perspectives being overlooked, something which leads to poor representation of young people’s interests and needs in policy making and decision-making processes. Despite the existence of youth wings in political parties, and several other youth-led and youth serving CSOs, there has been inadequate analytical skills among the youth to champion meaningful youth political participation. Therefore, #AmplifyTanzania is responding to the problem of inadequate analytical skills among the youth to champion meaningful youth political participation in governance, democracy, leadership, and reforms of multiparty democracy in Tanzania.

In pursuit of achieving the project goal #AmplifyTanzania partnered with TCD, and two USAID activities implemented by International Republican Institute (CEPPS-Lets Participate together) and Freedom House Data Driven Advocacy (DDA) to conduct the Youth Leadership Camp. The camp featured cross-party youth wings analytical skills training with an attendance of 48 youth (22 males, and 26 females) from political parties, CSOs and university students.

Seated from the left is Sentell Barnes, IRI’s Country Director, followed by Likele Shungu, TCD’s Program Officer, Dr. Mwiga Wiljonsi Mbesi, the Director of Youth Development from Prime Minister’s Office, followed by Daniel Lema, FH Chief of Party, in a group photo with all participants of the cross-party youth training in Arusha, MS-TCDC.

Training sessions were held for three days from April 19 to 21, 2023 at the MS-Training Center for Development Cooperation in Arusha. The city is located in northern part of Tanzania just few miles away from the Africa’s rooftop, the leading African tourist destination Mount Kilimanjaro. Other activities conducted by the project during the camp included the co-creation sessions that developed #AmplifyTanzania as a mobile and web-based application. After the training, the project team did a successful launch of the first opinion survey on #AmplifyTanzania mobile app. The survey targets 1000 youth to collect opinions on their participation in leadership and inclusive democracy in Tanzania. Up to the time of publication of this article, more than 300 youth have submitted their opinions.

Mr. Richard Mushi, an app developer collecting inputs from the 48 trainees, during the co-creation sessions that developed #AmplifyTanzania mobile and web-based applications.

The project’s monitoring and evaluation system recorded three notable successes of the training sessions. There was an increased knowledge and skills to undertake PESTEL analysis among the trainees. The project conducted pre and post-test for the training on all topics covered during the training. Before the training was conducted about 8% of trainees reported to lack knowledge and skills with no confidence to conduct Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental and Legal (PESTEL) analysis. After the training, 71% of trainees reported increased knowledge and skills to confidently conduct PESTEL analysis on their own. Therefore, the participants of the cross-party youth wings training demonstrated increased knowledge and skills to undertake PESTEL analysis.

Photo on the Left: Frederick Fussi delivers a training session about how to conduct PESTEL analysis using #AmplifyTanzania mobile app. Picture on the right: Abdalah Mhando, a youth leader from the political party NCCR-Mageuzi, interacts with the trainer Frederick Fussi during the training sessions on PESTEL analysis.

The project recorded increased ability among the youth trainees to identify issues affecting youth participation in democratic space. Before the training at least 17% of trainees reported lack of ability to identify issues affecting youth participation in democratic space. After the training a post-test was conducted to ascertain whether there is increased ability among the trainees. The post-test evaluation result indicated that 79% of all trainees were able to identify issues affecting youth participation in democratic space for youth organizations and youth party wings in Tanzania. This result demonstrated that the training contributed to an increased ability to identify issues affecting youth participation in democratic space among the trained youth.

Left and right photos: participants from political parties, CSOs, and university students participating in group work, identifying youth issues in the democratic space.

Also, the project team recorded increased knowledge among the trained youth in conducting issue-based digital surveys. The trainees were asked before the training about whether they are knowledgeable in conducting issue-based digital survey, decoding information, undertaking data visualization and presentation, and developing and implementing advocacy action plans. Approximately, 27% of all trainees were either not knowledgeable or did not know about conducting issue-based digital surveys, while only 73% were somewhat knowledgeable. After the training, the #AmplifyTanzania project ran a post-test evaluation and revealed the changing trend, whereby all trainees by 100% demonstrated increased knowledge in conducting an issue-based digital survey!

Frederick Fussi is an alumnus of the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (YALI) and participated in the November 2022 Alumni TIES seminar on “Youth and Opportunity: Defending Democracy and Advancing Human Rights” in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Alumni TIES is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and supported in its implementation by World Learning, in partnership with the Office of Alumni Affairs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).

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Alumni TIES

Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminars (Alumni TIES) are regionally focused seminars for alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs.