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AT least 500 youths countrywide are expected to benefit from the ongoing National Youth Engagement Network (NYEN) project, which seeks to engage youth in activities for their personal and professional development.

Funded by UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), the ambitious project also seeks to engage youth to contribute to ongoing development debate and dialogue with regard to the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda.

The project which was launched at the weekend is implemented by a consortium of three organisations namely Restless Development, Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and Raleigh Tanzania. In an interview with the ‘Daily News’ VSO Project Officer, Aden Ruvurahende said the project will engage 400 alumni of the International Citizen Service (ICS) and 100 non-ICS youth.

This means, 80 per cent of youth will be ICS alumni and the remaining 20 per cent will be non-ICS youth. ICS is a global volunteering programme which facilitates bringing over young volunteers from UK to work alongside national volunteers to respond to the most pressing issues faced by young people in a community.

The initiative, which is also funded by DFID, gives thousands of young people the chance to serve in the fight against global poverty. According to Mr Ruvurahende, the NYEN project will bring together the national ICS alumni through webinars, state level activities and capacity building of youth on SDGs.

“The main objective of this project is to engage alumni from all the three organisations and see what we can get from them after accomplishing the ICS programme to join the community and later share their experience on what best we can do bring development,’’ he said.

On capacity building, he said, the programme will engage groups of youth from all the five zones countrywide which are Lake Zone, central zone, Northern zone, Coastal zone, Southern Highlands and Zanzibar. The project seeks to engage youth in activities for their personal and professional development so as to contribute to the national development.

Mr Ruvurahende added that the NYEN five-month project will last in May this year, after which a grant would be provided as a startup capital to groups of five to ten youth who will write the best proposals.

“We believe this will be yet another boost to youth in reduction of unemployment in the country because by receiving grant they will be able to establish projects that will help them to employ themselves,’’ said Restless Development Outrich Coordinator, Ridhine Juma.

According to Raleigh Tanzania Youth Development Officer, Sia Malamsha, there will be six representatives from each of the organisation and one representative from each zone who will help in coordinating the project to make it successful. “We will also establish an online platform for the youth countrywide,’’ added Ms Malamsha.

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