As we mark International Youth Day globally on the 12th of August, one cannot help but assess the current situation and prospects for the youth in our community.
“According to the 2012 national population and housing census, the Tanzanian Labour force (ages 15 – 64) is 23,466,616, which is equivalent to 52.2% of the total population; and the youth (ages 15 – 35) is 15,587,621 (equivalent to 66.4% of the 6 labour force). The unemployment rate amongst young people aged 15 – 24 years in Tanzania is 13.4%. Unemployment is also higher amongst young women (14.3%) than amongst young men of the same age, 12.3% (MKUKUTA Poverty and Human Development Report, 2011)” .
We cannot address development issues without addressing the challenges or opportunities facing the young people who are the majority population in Tanzania. The Tanzania Data Lab- dLab is a center for data activity and a co-working space that encourages and promotes data for innovation, decision making and development. dLab has embraced the data revolution taking the world by storm and is putting efforts in raising awareness on the use of data in the Tanzanian public, private and business community. Although there is availability of data that can be used to identify, further explain a problem or provide a solution, there is still minimal use in the continent and in our communities. What we need to drive the data revolution is data literate citizens who will use data to achieve their goals and to participate fully in their community and wider society.
“The youth of today are the leaders of today”. To compliment this effort, dLab has an online learning platform on data literacy, that are publicly free for everyone and currently it has been encouraging young people through social media platforms to enroll and take the course. dLab have to date trained 156 youth from 15 regions in Tanzania in our various face to face training on data literacy, data management, of which 48% are female.
dLab also run campaigns for social impact that targets youth from secondary schools and those out of school. The objective of the campaign is to introduce business opportunities around data. Through this campaign dLab have trained 25 girls of age 15-25 on how use open datasets to identify community challenges that can be turned to business opportunities or use the datasets to code various solutions that will improve access of information to the community. Out of the girls trained since April, three of them have been able to publish their systems online and two have become finalist of the Data for Local Impact Innovation Challenge (DLI).
Asha (17 years)
Used health facility data from dLab to map centres that are available to provide HIV and Aids testing and counseling services
Koku (18 years)
Used open education data sets to identify gaps in student to teaching facility ratio. Koku seeks to bridge the tech gender gap’ through her online learning application called vitabu shelf.
dLab is also launching a data club soon to encourage more youth into being part of the data community. This club will amongst other things be a platform for the members to learn more on data management skills, and they can also play a role on as data champions in the community by demonstrating and advocating for the use of data for decision making and data for development.
Written by Carol Ndosi & Mahadia Tunga