By Grace Abaho.

The long- awaited Youth Leadership Summit in Arusha- Tanzania officially kicked off today (27th November 2017).  It’s good note that for real, unlocking potential for the youth can’t wait. It is either today or never! Waiting for tomorrow for the youth to own a voice and raise the banners as leaders is a complete waste of time—it has to be now—as many of the leaders spoke eloquently in the early beginning of the Summit.

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Mr. Atuyambe Ivan officially opened up the session by welcoming everyone in attendance to the summit; he made it clear that this was a great milestone having all countries of the East African block represented, a rare thing. In attendance were the representatives from the republic of Ethiopia, too. He went forward to thank the sponsors of the event, and among these are DSW, EAC, Mobisol, YMCA Africa Alliance, and Giz among others.

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Mr. Mbogori Ezra, Principal for MS-TCDC, stressed the inherent potential the youth have; “we are the ‘hashtag generation’; young people need to take leadership positions. Africa is a well- endowed continent; the youth have the ability to change Africa.”  A determinant note; inclusions have to be met, everyone has to be involved.” He too expressed deep thanks to the East African community for taking forward the task of enabling the young people to take up leadership positions.

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Mr.  Owaga Peter, DSW country director (Republic of Tanzania) hit the nail on the head too; he offered to reiterate a fact; “As young people, we have our strength not just in numbers. We need young people who are skilled, but also we need to create opportunities for them.”  He encouraged the young people to read the East African youth policy if they are to have leverage for their bargaining power in both matters of national and global importance.  “Appreciate who you are as young people; as a leader,” he said emphatically.

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Hon. Anthony Peter Mavunde, Member of Parliament and Deputy Minister of State for the Republic of Tanzania also didn’t mince words; he gave a very resounding message to the participants of the Summit on both sides of the aisle. In his speech, he categorically made it clear that now is the time for the youth to show up and take up their inherent rights of recognition in society. In his own words, “This East African Summit is a platform for brave, action- oriented and most inspiring young leaders, change makers, start-uppers and entrepreneurs, who will demonstrate innovations , entrepreneurial and leadership skills. I believe this platform will create a common space for critical assessment of the gaps in legal, policy and institutional frameworks.”

His conclusive remarks came with a reminder to the youth and in the words of the iconic Mahatma Ghandi, he said, “be the change that you want to see in the world.” There is no better way to put it, but this way in addition: be a self-introspective youth.

 

Photos by: Fahad Fuad

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