Every second Tanzanian is younger than 18 years old; almost two-thirds of the population is aged below 24. Its demographic share derives the potential for youth to influence the political direction and to support democratization in the country. Yet, many young citizens struggle to participate politically and do not feel adequately represented in and through decision-making bodies.
Through various mechanisms and programmes, FES Tanzania strengthens the political agency of the youth. Since 2000, FES Tanzania has been gathering youth from different backgrounds in its Young Leaders Forum (YLF) for the purpose of critical discourse and exchange in a non-partisan, objective and constructive manner. The YLF provides a platform for active young minds and political activists to learn about, discuss and critically interrogate issues of social justice and democracy in the country, in the East African region and in sub-Saharan Africa at large. This annual programme encourages young Tanzanians to take on the shared responsibility in building a socially just and democratic country, and to actively bring in youth positions in the political system.
After completion of the programme, many participants of the YLF have assumed positions in various organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, at national or community level. The group of Alumni of the YLF is a viable network of socially and politically engaged youth – a youth that is advocating for an inclusive and democratic Tanzania.