By Naomi Yakawich
Local volunteers in Tanzani worked together in a community-wide clean up, promoting not only protection of their natural environment, but also safeguarding a community of healthy families, countering the growing danger of violence and extremism. Global Peace Foundation (GPF) and its partner, Tanzania Research and Career Development Institute (TRACDI), hosted the cleanup on May 27.
On December 9, 2015, President of Tanzania, Dr. John Pombe Magufuli, cancelled traditional Independence Day celebrations, which usually included a military parade and concert, saying it would be “shameful” to spend huge sums of money while the country was facing a serious cholera outbreak. Since then, citizens of Nzuguni have joined up with local government to celebrate patriotism by cleaning their neighborhood.
The clean up project was lead by Principle of TRACDI Mr. Philbert Mshumba and other Global Peace Club volunteers, students of TRACDI and locals to the Nzuguni area. Volunteers cleaned up trash and planted trees donated by GPF Tanzania.
The rise of identity-based conflict and violent extremism driven by youth radicalization has cost the country thousands of lives, leaving many people displaced, causing political instability and the loss of infrastructure, natural resources and social cohesion, impeding human and economic development.
Youth constitute 60% of Tanzania’s population. By getting citizens and especially youth involved in community projects, GPF Tanzania hopes to encourage collaboration and counter youth radicalization and violent extremism throughout the country. GPF representative, Martha Nghambi, introduced GPF’s Youth and Peace campaign, “Vijana Na Amani.” The ongoing educational program informs youth and families about the issue of violence and extremism and how they can prevent the problem by addressing it at the grassroots level.
Inspired by the message, Global Peace Club coordinator Benson Daudi, was happy to bring volunteers to help in the clean up project saying that not only did cleaning up the community make him feel good, but that it was essential to equip young people with the knowledge of the challenges facing the country. Keeping youth busy as contributing members of society leaves less time and opportunity for extremist groups to indoctrinate destructive philosophies and more time to raise healthy families and societies.
GPF representatives provided tips to prevent youth radicalization at the community level, encouraging the volunteers to continue participating in community bonding activities, respect the religious and political views of their diverse citizenship and promote positive use of the internet.
Read more about GPF Tanzania’s Youth and Peace Empowerment Workshops.