By Our Reporter
Young citizens in Tanzania can play a significant role to enable the country realize its Vision 2025, the global Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063.
Speaking in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday during World Children's Day celebrations , United Nation Children's Fund (UNICEF) Representative Ms. Maniza Zaman said youth of Tanzania should be encouraged and engaged in realizing of the country’s development objectives.
Ms. Maniza who was addressing over 100 young men and women from different schools and higher learning institutions from all over the country at an event organized at the Bank of Tanzania Conference Facilities said that Tanzania’s children under the age of 18 have their hopes and dreams in life, just like adults and, that these aspirations should not only be encouraged to blossom but also to benefit the country’s development agenda.
The Oxford University educated Ms. Maniza said that if every boy and girl is given a fair chance and the opportunity to be heard in life as well as supported accordingly, then chances are that they will be successful and make significant contribution to the country’s struggle for development.
“Let us encourage them to make the right choices and pursue the paths to make those choices a reality in their lives. This will surely help them achieve their goals in life as well as significantly contributing to the country’s major development goals,” said Ms Maniza.
During the event five young Tanzanians shared their aspirations, dreams, and narrated their stories on how they chose their path in life, bringing them to some encouraging achievements.
The five included Brigitte Lyimo, Miss Tanzania 2012 and now an activists for the rights of young people with albinism in Tanzania, an activist for youth rights from Arusha Raphael Dennis and an IT and engineering student at the University of Dar Es Salaam Witness Mtui.
Other were a popular radio presenter and online influencer Millard Ayo as well as Vanessa Innocent, a form two student at Chang’ombe Secondary School in Dar Es Salaam, who received a standing ovation for her articulate presentation on her hopes and aspirations in life, where she told participants that she wants to be a motivational speaker in life.
The aim of these talks was to draw attention to the issues and challenges being faced by children and young people in Tanzania, as well as encouraging them to believe in themselves, knowing that hopes and dreams cultivated at young age in life and driven by self confidence can turn them into successful citizens of their country.
The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) was first set up on December 11th in 1946 in New York, and for more than 70 years the Fund has worked to promote children’s survival, protection and development in key life support areas such as health and nutrition, clean and safe water provision and sanitation, basic quality education and protection from violence, exploitation and recently, from HIV/AIDS.
The work of UNICEF which has now operations in more than 170 globally with more than 13,000 staff, 85 percent of which is in filed activities was significantly enhanced by the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 which was followed, twenty nine years ago, in 1989, by the global adoption of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which then became the most rapidly and widely ratified international human rights treaty in the history of mankind.
The Convention changed the way children are viewed and treated.
They came to be seen as human beings with a distinct set of rights – and not just passive objects in need of care and charity.
Twenty-seven years ago, Tanzania ratified the UNCRC, and. today, the country has much to celebrate – from less children under-five dying, less babies getting HIV, a steady decline in malnutrition over the years, more children accessing schooling to name a few.
Maniza says that Tanzania’s commitment and efforts in support of children’s rights have to be recognized and appreciated.
"Tanzania’s growing child population (set to double by 2030), socio-economic and cultural diversity, and its regional, gender and social disparities, still pose challenges to the realization of all that is in the Convention on the Rights of the Child" she said.
She added that there are children still dying too soon, who are not growing up healthy and well nourished, who don’t manage to go to school and learn, who live in fear and experience all forms of violence, which do not have clean water and proper toilets to use.
Maniza added that there are children whose voices are not heard – never heard, insisting that these children must be the focus of everybody's collective attention – “leave no one behind” as world leaders said when they signed the Sustainable Development Goals.
She insisted that UNICEF has a special role in supporting the Convention.
"Article 45 assigns UNICEF a legal obligation to promote and protect child rights by supporting the work of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. Guided by the provision and principles of the CRC, child rights are at the heart of UNICEF’s work" she said.