Youth development : building youth organisational capacity for community development processes

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Southern New Hampshire University
This report presents findings from a project that intended to enhance the capacity of HAMASA Sanaa Group, a youth non-governmental organization which promote positive youth development and their involvement in community development processes taking place in their community by through investigating the views and behavior of young people aged between 14 and 24 in relation to youth development, youth groups and community development processes. The subject of youth participation in both local and national development processes has been an ongoing concern in Tanzania and elsewhere since the early 1990s. In this context the author of this report undertook this project under the auspices of the Community Economic Development Programme of the Southern New Hampshire (US) University and the Open University of Tanzania to investigate the reasons why young people are not participating in community development processes and consider what, if anything, could be done to increase their participation through implementing a capacity building project of HAMASA. For the purpose of this paper, Community development processes were recognized as those grassroots processes by which communities; become more responsible; organize and plan together; develop healthy options; empower themselves; reduce ignorance, poverty and suffering; create employment and economic opportunities; and Achieve social, economic, cultural and environment goals. The Hananasifu Unplanned settlement is located within Kinondoni Municipal, about 4 kilometers from the Dar-es-Salaam city centre. It is accessible from Kawawa road. The settlement occupies about 50 hectares of land sharing borders with the planned neighborhoods of Kinondoni on the northern side, Kawawa road on the western side and Magomeni and Msimbazi valley on the southern side. The community development processes that were taking place in Hananasifu included construction and maintenance of large drainage channels constructed by a community based organization, Hananasifu Community Development Association (HCDA) under funding from the ILO, HIV/AIDS prevention campaigns and home based care for people living with HIV/AIDS, support and care of orphans, construction and maintenance of water points and participation in water user committees, environmental sanitation, security and peace of their street and participating in decision making forums such as in the street government and in political parties. Project participants were HAMASA members, local government agencies in Kinondoni Municipal responsible for youth development and community development department, community members and NGOs serving youth and international NGOs dealing with capacity building of local NGOs in Tanzania. To achieve this objective, the project first conducted a participatory action research based on interviews, questionnaires, focus group discussions and observation to gather data and identify community, local authorities and youth perceptions on Youth development and how they can engage effectively in community development processes. SWOT analysis of HAMASA was conducted as part of the research on youth organizations or groups. Capacity building tools such as Organizations Self-Assessments were used to understand the capacity needs of HAMASA Sanaa Group so that they can enable the youth of Hananasifu to engage effectively in community development processes and promote positive youth development. Evidence in this report confirms that the youth are concerned about a range of issues. Many of these relate to the community perception on youth, support, local and national policy agenda although they often are not perceived in this way. Even though the youth seldom mentioned local development processes explicitly as a concern, a number of the issues such as the availability of spaces for petty businesses and local leisure facilities fall under the jurisdiction of the local authority and/or national government. The research found that both the youth and community members had different views on the exact ages of people who constitute the youth group, the meaning and importance of youth development, importance of youth involvement in development processes and there were differences on the reasons which make young people form organizations such as HAMASA and the benefits they get from such groups. The research concluded that it is on the basis of these differing views and negative perceptions on youths and their organizations that youth are not trusted and involved adequately in community development processes within their community. The SWOT analysis and organizational self-assessment found that HAMASA like many other emerging NGOs had many organizational weaknesses that were hampering its capacity to support youth participate effectively in community development processes. The issues that were identified from the research were implemented in a model for building the organizational capacity of HAMASA Sanaa Group. The capacity building approach was implemented by facilitating HAMASA to understand how they real work through an Organization Self-Assessment (OSA) and undertaking several priority activities on the areas that were seen crucial from the OSA. These included: reviewing the constitution of HAMASA to make it more clear and focused, developing the vision and mission statements, to improve documentation and provision of relevant information to the youth by establishing a resource centre, improving networking and linkages with other stakeholders, improving fundraising skills by developing a project proposal and lastly by improving theatre arts and drama skills of the youth by accessing training from the University of Dar-es-Salaam. (Author abstract)