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This work was originally produced for UNICEF
Originally produced for UNICEF
Excerpts from a UNICEF report exploring the gains and challenges facing adolescents in Tanzania. See links above.
Almost a quarter of Tanzanians are aged between 10 and 19 years old. By 2025, when Tanzania aims to achieve the development breakthroughs defined in its national Vision, these 9.9 million young people will be 25 to 35 years old. They will be the young professionals, the entrepreneurs, the farmers, teachers, nurses, social workers and doctors, the technicians and young politicians, the performers, designers and brave new thinkers, visionaries and young leaders of faith − and most will be parents as well. Their ability to successfully fill these roles that are so central to national progress and development, and their capacity to avoid the pitfalls that can dim or destroy their hopes, depends a great deal on how we invest in and protect their growth and development during the coming years.
Although the Tanzanian economy has continued to grow, the national budget is over-stretched and the Government is seeking ways to reduce the deficit. Typically, it is the social sector that falls under the red pen of those charged with trimming budgets and tightening spending. Yet social sector cut-backs can undermine or even reverse development gains already achieved, and seriously weaken the prospects of the current generation of adolescents.
The facts about Tanzania’s adolescents tell a story of significant progress, but also of disparities that widen along both gender and geographic lines as young Tanzanians progress through their second decade. The report explores the real gains in increased education access, reduction in child marriages, and increasing numbers of girls who are protecting themselves from unwanted pregnancy. Even so, one in every six girls aged 15 to 19 years is married, and the country still has one of the highest adolescent pregnancy and birth rates in the world. Increased access to education has been matched by a decline in quality, and huge gender disparities remain. A recent opinion poll supported by UNICEF showed that 25 per cent of Tanzanians thought that educating boys was more important than educating girls.
This report reflects on some of the achievements and concerns of adolescents, describing their experiences, opportunities and motivations and the contributions they hope to make to their nation. It will also explore some of the most difficult experiences of adolescents in Tanzania today; challenges that would confound any adult, let alone a child.
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