African Initiatives supports our partner in Tanzania, Community Aid and Small Enterprises Consultancy (CASEC), on a Tanzania youth development project located in a small youth centre in a poor area of Arusha City. The project offers youths from the age of 16; many of which come from disadvantaged backgrounds or live on the street; a chance for a better life through a project which supports, increases their confidence and educates them as well as developing their individual talents.Both academic and vocational courses are offered at the centre such as IT training and Tourism courses, along with ‘talent’ development activities such as sports clubs, music and drama clubs. As part of this project a compulsory ‘awareness creation’ programme is also delivered to youths, informing them of issues such as HIV and AIDS, gender inequalities, drug use and legal rights.

Yasin has benefited from this programme; after getting his secondary certificate at school he had no further opportunities to continue with higher education. This was a big disappointment for him, “Without a good education,” he says, “life is hard.” Then he found that he had a talent for art. He uses banana leaves to make picture frames, handbags, pen holders and many other products but it is hard to make a living “People don’t value this sort of work, many Tanzanians don’t value things made from traditional materials.” He joined CASEC’s youth centre in 2012 and has already seen the difference “I’ve improved my skills and the quality of my products through using different materials. I thank CASEC because they have helped me to promote my work through participation in exhibitions. They have also helped me to know how to deal with different customers. I can see that life has changed in the last year. It is better now.”

In 2012, a new community outreach programme was also introduced into the project where an additional 300 youths will be supported outside of the youth centre in some of the squatter areas of the city.

Listen to Amanda Grimstead describe the Arusha Youth Centre

Onwards and Upwards

  • 30 students successfully completed a Tourism course at the centre in 2011 after which 18 of them gained jobs whilst a further 8 went on to further Tourism studies at college
  • In 2011, 47 students successfully completed a pre-form 1 (secondary school) education programme
  • In 2012 it is expected that 955 youths will benefit from the youth centre programme

  • Just £20 will run a music workshop at CASEC’s Youth Centre
  • £28 will pay for the training and provision of the Youth Centre Sport’s Teams for 1 month
  • £315 will run a ‘Health Education Week’ at the centre including HIV and AIDS testing, counselling and guest speakers