Engaging Tanzanian Youth in Peacebuilding Activities to Build Resilience and Prevent Violent Extremism

Robin McDonough
September 21, 2023

Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Tanzania continues to support the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and its Dumisha Amani Project to engage community members in building resilience and preventing violent extremism (VE) in the southern regions of Lindi, Mtwara, and Ruvuma bordering Mozambique. Recognizing the critical role that young people play in peacebuilding and the unique challenges they face from peer groups and other pressures, GPF Tanzania collaborated with the United Nations Development Programme and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to engage them in peacebuilding training to become Peace Champions in their communities.

During the first week of July, after identifying, recruiting, and interviewing 336 young people ages 15 to 35 from the Tunduru and Nyasa districts, Ruvuma region, a diverse group of 100 youths (60 females and 40 males) were selected to participate in peacebuilding training. Representatives of the Tunduru and Nyasa District Commissioners officiated the opening ceremony for the training sessions. Dr. Nassibu Mwaifunga, the PMO representative of the Youth Division, Labor, and People with Disabilities, provided a brief explanation of the project. Also in attendance was the Country Director of GPF Tanzania, Martha Nghambi.

A group of Tanzanian youth engaging in peacebuilding activities.

Community Peace Club members from Tunduru

To address the inherent vulnerabilities young people face in finding their identity, determining their role in the community, and resisting the increasing lure of VE to improve their economic situation, the peacebuilding training focused on providing the participants with knowledge about conflict management and positive community affiliation. The training targeted several key areas: an expert from the National Counter Terrorism Center conducted the Prevention of Violent Extremism and Conflict Analysis training, while an expert from the PMO conducted training in the Role of Youth in Peacebuilding. The training also gave the participants insight into other opportunities and facilities in the PMO.

Upon completing the training, the youth participants were encouraged to form Community Peacebuilding Clubs (CPCs) to use the knowledge and skills they acquired to promote peacebuilding and prevent VE. As a result, 10 CPCs were established – 5 in Tunduru and 5 in Nyasa. Activities to be undertaken by the CPCs include community sensitization, door-to-door peacebuilding activities, and diligent reporting of unlawful activity or suspicious people to the village or ward leadership.

The young people from the Tunduru and Nyasa Districts who attended the training expressed an increased awareness of peacebuilding and the desire to engage in peacebuilding activities in their communities. Uweza Patrick (Mtwara TTC) stated that “Being a member of the Peace Club, has led me to a sense of confidence, self-awareness and more responsibility in daily activities, which includes continuing to do well in my studies too.”

Overall, the young participants were satisfied with the recruitment process and training they received on such a crucial security and safety-related topic. Due to the importance of engaging young people in creating a sustainable peaceful environment free of VE, recommendations for future training included extending the sessions beyond one day to capitalize on the extensive expertise of the trainers.

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