Approximately 85% of the world’s youth live in developing countries. According to the Restless Development youth led research, Tanzania has the 10th largest youth population globally, with 66% being under the age of 25.
Even though they make up such a large proportion of the population, sadly most youth are marginalized and do not take part in the development of Tanzanian society. Young people remain the group with the least opportunity to contribute their ideas to influence positive change. Indeed, many do not even take part in solving the tiny problems in their daily life. Great minds with vibrant ideas do not have a platform to air them nor the ability to pilot them. This represents a huge setback to achieving a genuinely inclusive society.
It is in this context that the CDI Education Project, in collaboration with Bridge For Change, set up the Think Big Challenge. Now in its third cycle, the Challenge is encouraging energetic and enthusiastic youth from schools in the Temeke District to design and implement initiatives that solve problems local to them. The teams are provided with workshops that aim to develop the students’ solutions as well as mentoring them to develop their soft skills.
In order to gain insight into how the students are finding the Challenge so far, we chatted to a couple of them about their experience as young people and how the programme is helping them tackle this:
“The Think Big challenge has helped me to think outside the box to get the best possible and feasible solution to the Early Pregnancy problem that my team have decided to solve and we have come up with a concrete action plan. In the beginning it was hard to convince people to join my team, but after we formed this team, we have gained public speaking skills.” - Haji Mwinyimvua (Wailes Secondary School).
Ban Ki-Moon, the ex-Secretary General of the UN, once said, “The youth are often at the frontline to stand against discrimination, inequality and marginalization. The youth are a force for transformation.” CDI acknowledges the crucial role of youth in the transformation of their societies, and urges all young people to take charge of their lives. When youth are encouraged to think big, they have the potential to become the change-makers in their societies.
 Restless Development 2011 Annual Report