Youth For Green Growth: Tanzanian Youth ask Government to bridge the gap between policy and action

9th May 2017

On 31st March, Raleigh Tanzania Society members from across the country gathered in Dodoma to attend the second Youth for Green Growth (Y4GG) Conference. The event aimed to engage decision makers in debate and to encourage them to adopt green growth policies.
Report by Kennedy Mmari

More than 150 people attended the day-long conference including government leaders, civil society organisations and college students from universities across Dodoma region. They were able to voice their opinions and share their positions on green growth, seeking ways for youth, government, and development partners to work together to ensure policy leads to effective action.

Halifa Msangi the Regional Natural Resources and Environment Advisor delivered a keynote speech on behalf of the Department for Union and Environment. He acknowledged the challenges that the country is facing regarding natural environment protection and conservation, but insisted that the government is doing all within its reach to ensure that industrial economy policy goes hand in hand with environmental protection.

Mr Halifa Msangi speaking to the youth attended the Y4GG Conference in Dodoma

Mr Halifa says, “we thank Raleigh Tanzania for organising this event to remind us of the importance of adopting green growth and protect our environment. We have worked on a number of environment policies, laws and sensitisation campaigns….for example, everyone who buys a plot of land in Dodoma must plant at least 50 trees and the government is working with communities by to ensure that they know what type of trees they should plant in their areas.”

Mr Hashim Kitaazi, Dodoma Urban District Administrative Officer said environment is a critical sector and more attention should be paid by all the stakeholders so that we know our children and the future generations will be safe. ‘’We have environment bylaws, we have environment policies, but it is not only the government responsibility to make things happen, the society especially young people have the potential to change our country if they have a positive, can do attitude.”

Raleigh Tanzania Society member, Ms Grace Kanuthi asked the government panelists what they think about subsidising alternative sources of energy such as gas and electricity to reduce the environmental impact of harvesting forests for charcoal and firewood. “There are very few alternative source of energy applicable in Tanzania context, but production and installation is not affordable at all. What are your plans?…when I volunteered with Raleigh Tanzania we helped to raise awareness in communities by building rocket stoves which helped to reduce the negative environmental impact. They use less firewood required for domestic use, but this is not enough”.

Grace Kanuthi, Raleigh Tanzania alumni putting questions to the panelists
Grace Kanuthi, Raleigh Tanzania alumni putting questions to the panelists

In response to this Mr Msangi explained “the government is working tirelessly to ensure that this challenge is tackled by introducing alternative sources of energy including supplying electricity to the rural areas through Rural Electricity Agency (REA). However, the challenge remains that we have supplied the electricity, but using it for cooking instead of charcoal remains a household decision”.

As a result of the conference, Raleigh Tanzania were invited to meet directly with the Hon. Minister of state, Union and Environment, to discuss their environmental programmes. During the one-to-one meeting, youth development team members discussed how the ministry could work more closely with the national youth sector to help tackle existing environmental challenges as well as ensuring no more compromise is made when it comes to protecting of the environment.

Group photo at Dodoma Conference
Group photo at Dodoma Conference

This conference was a milestone for the Raleigh Tanzania society. The event highlighted to its members their potential to make change. Using a platform of recent campaigning and social action on green growth, Raleigh Tanzania alumni were able to lead discussion and debate with government and civil society organisations on policy and its implementation. The culmination of the Youth for Green Growth project puts alumni in a very strong position for the next steps in the development of the Raleigh Tanzania Society.

The Youth for Green Growth project is funded by the Oak Foundation. It supports youth-led social and environmental action and advocacy in Tanzania. Overall, it promotes and advances the green growth agenda and contributes to the achievement of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

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