TANZANIA’S POLITICAL BACKGROUND
Tanzania’s most recent population census, conducted in 2012, estimates that 51.3% of the country’s population are women and 82.4% are under the age of 39. Despite this, the participation of young people and women in decision-making processes has always been a challenge. And, while Tanzania has made and continues to make tremendous efforts in this regard, there is room for improvement, especially with respect to enhancing the participation of women and youth in public life. The representation of women and young people in elected public office positions currently stands at 6% for women councillors, 10% for women MPs, and 12% for youth MPs.
THE APPROACH OF NIMD IN TANZANIA
This project, which will run from March 2017 to September 2019 with funding from the European Union. Through various interventions, NIMD and its partner, the Tanzania Centre for Democracy (TCD), aim to target the relatively low levels of political participation among women and young people by improving the management and functioning of political parties.
NIMD and TCD target political parties that have representation in local councils through a number of training initiatives, including cross-party workshops; tailor-made technical assistance for political parties; comprehensive leadership training courses for women and youth in political parties; and capacity building courses for women and youth councillors.
Specifically, the project aims to:
- Support political parties to reflect on and review their internal processes in order to enhance the active participation of women and youth;
- Provide leadership training to women and young people so that they can effectively take part in the various leadership structures of political parties;
- Build the capacity of party members, particularly women and youth, to increase their chances of being nominated for and eventually winning local government elections;
- Strengthen the capacity of local government elected women and youth to effectively deliver on their mandates.
Ultimately, through these measures, the project works to unlock the potential of political parties to serve as champions of inclusiveness in the political system in Tanzania. The project recognizes the centrality of political parties in advancing inclusive politics.
Political parties can and do serve a wide variety of functions: conducting election campaigns, mobilizing supporters, aggregating interests, structuring electoral choices, linking leaders and activists, selecting candidates for elected office, developing policy platforms, organizing legislatures, and coordinating the formation and activities of government.
If political parties can fully embrace and put into practice the call for inclusiveness, a significant positive difference can be made given the wide range of fundamental functions that they play.