By Naomi Yakawich
“We must use our knowledge and skills acquired from school to transform the society from our local communities. Successful people never complain; they always grab opportunities and share them with others.” —David George
In Tanzania, youth make up more than 60% of the entire population, making them an essential demographic of leadership in addressing challenges not just in the future but right now. Youth volunteers and ambassadors with Global Peace Foundation have made tremendous strides to counter youth involvement in violent conflict, whether ethnic, religious or political, by organizing events and workshops to develop moral and innovative leadership capacities in Tanzania’s young people.
Over the last year alone, these extraordinary leaders provided a free platform for youth to interact and learn about practical leadership, academic and entrepreneurial skills with facilitators who are experts in their field. The forums allowed youth to look beyond their immediate circumstances and obtain the knowledge and motivation to contribute to their communities and foster peace to reverse the cycle of youth involvement in violent extremism.
Joel Nanauka is one such leader who supports the GPF Tanzania campaign Vijana Na Amani (Youth and Peace) through training on moral leadership. “Leaders are role models,” said Joel, “If you want your organization or initiative and those who work in it to behave ethically, then it’s up to you to model ethical behavior. A leader and an organization that has a reputation for ethical behavior can provide a model for other organizations and the community.”
Fatuma Abdallah, a student from Open University who participated in a Tanzania youth forum, said, “After today’s session, I am very motivated to work on my leadership skills to become a near future moral leader. I will also encourage others to do the same.”
Antony Luvanda, a speaker from Tony Inspirational Talk, participated in the GPF Tanzania forums to explain the importance of personal branding as youth leaders. “We all have attitudes and beliefs about brands based on our experiences. The strongest brands are powerful, authentic, consistent, visible, valuable; the same qualities apply to personal brands. Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room,” said Antony.
Ownership over a personal brand means youth have greater control over their own destinies, maximizing their career potential while standing by their responsibility to be ethical leaders. Having youth focus on leadership and responsible citizenship means there is a higher likelihood they will set goals to contribute to a greater good after finishing school, not participating in violence or crime.
GPF Tanzania also hosts community service projects that draw hundreds and thousands of youth over the year. “Volunteering can have benefits for your personal development,” said Dickson Kamala, an ambassador for GPF Tanzania, “It builds self-esteem and confidence as you are experiencing a sense of achievement and personal satisfaction from being a part of something meaningful, helping others, and seeing the positive results of the work carried out.”
Youth in Tanzania who participate in these events feel empowered to make a difference. David George participated in the events and was moved to help mobilized youth to change their mindsets on life. “We must use our knowledge and skills acquired from school to transform the society from our local communities. Successful people never complain; they always grab opportunities and share them with others.”
Sign up for GPF monthly newsletters and hear how youth leaders around the world are contributing to peace in their communities.