Tanzania — Tanzania has ratified the African Youth Charter, but with one reservation. The charter was developed and adopted in 2006 by Ministers of Youth and the African Union Summit, with the support of UNFPA. To date, at least 27 African countries have ratified the charter.
“It is evident that UNFPA's support to advance youth development has been instrumental in realizing the ratification,” said Ngasuma Kanyeka, Managing Director of Capacitate Consulting Ltd. However, Tanzania’s ratification has occurred with one reservation – that of allowing girls who are pregnant to return to school. “We still have our work cut out for us, but we are celebrating every step towards progress,” Mr.Kanyeka said.
Dr. Julitta Onabanjo, UNFPA Representative in Tanzania, congratulated all UNFPA’s partners “who also worked hard to get this through despite the reservation. The issue of pregnant girls not being allowed to continue school is a significant reservation and we need to continue the advocacy around this.”
However, the Tanzanian Government is attempting through other channels to by-pass the reservation. “The Tanzania Ministry of Education is working through the Parliamentary Committee on Social Welfare to get Cabinet Approval to allow pregnant girls to continue with their education after delivery,” said Christine Mwanukuzi-Kwayu, UNFPA Gender Specialist in Tanzania.
UNFPA is supporting the follow-up ratification of the Charter and implementation in African countries, according to Dr. Akinyele Eric Dairo, UNFPA Africa Regional Office Technical Adviser for Reproductive Health/Maternal Health. He congratulated the UNFPA team and all those involved in the ratification of the Charter in Tanzania. “Special thanks go to all UNFPA colleagues for their hard work and support to young people on the continent. Everywhere we turn, we see the products of UNFPA's support to young people in Africa,” he said.
The Charter was approved by African Ministers in Charge of Youth in May 2006, and endorsed in July 2006 by African Union Heads of State and Government as a legal framework of action for African youth. The Charter provides guidance for youth development policies and programmes at the national level. The process of developing the Charter was participatory, taking into account the voices of young people from all over the continent and the Diaspora.
Through the Charter, African governments have committed to undertaking critical actions to improve the status of young people in their countries. The Charter also highlights the rights, responsibilities and duties of young people and draws from various international agreements and commitments.
Governments committed through the charter to ensure that issues affecting young people in the areas of employment, sustainable livelihood, education, health (including sexual and reproductive health and HIV prevention), youth participation, national youth policy, peace and security, law enforcement, youth in the Diaspora and youth with disabilities, are adequately addressed within the framework of national youth policy and youth development programmes.
Youth in Africa are particularly challenged and vulnerable as a result of poverty, unemployment, adolescent health issues, including HIV infection and other diseases. Only effective national strategies can improve the status of the youth in the continent. Although more than half of Africa’s population comprises youths, most of them live in extreme poverty – 60.7 million young people live on less than US $1 a day.
See the African Youth Charter