Spotlight on Youth Development and Empowerment in East Africa
TAMASHA was co-founded in 2006 by three close friends all working with young people long enough to believe that they are the change that we so desperately yearn for in our communities. The aim is to secure the rightful space for young people, so they can actively contribute to the development of their societies using participatory and appreciative approaches.
What got you into the field of youth development and empowerment?
I have been personally working with TAMASHA for ten years and before that I was a part of a youth network in Tanzania helping urban and rural adolescents learn life skills. I first got started volunteering – I was introduced by a friend to join a youth group in late 1999 and I found it was a good place to be. I enjoyed meeting, learning from others, and the opportunity to share with like-minded people.
How have you engaged youth in implementation science and research?
Implementation science is something new for TAMASHA and for me. I’m very interested in it, especially from what I’ve learned so far because it sounds similar to what we’ve done with TAMASHA – participatory action research.
For example, we always want to ensure that all actors in the community come together to not only identify problems, but also the solutions. It’s important to identify systems, potential of the community, policies and laws. At TAMASHA, we involve young people in community-based research, which has resulted in recommendations and actions plans leading to improved quality and impact.
What about this urban health three-country assessment excites you?
The urban health three-country assessment is a great opportunity to share experiences and learning in partnership with URC, Ifakara Health Institute (IHI), and the other country teams. It was very exciting when IHI came to us with the possibility of this kind of partnership and we are grateful for this opportunity.
TAMASHA has extensive experience working with adolescents and their parents in poor urban areas. This is an opportunity for us to expand our work by bringing in more partners to share our knowledge on the communities we work with and the work we’re doing.
It’s also an opportunity for TAMASHA to learn more about implementation science and how it can build on our experience in qualitative and participatory action research. We are already working to gather and integrate evidence-based practices from local communities and at the policy level and we look forward to building on this through the assessment and collaboration with the other partners.
Churchill Shakim, Executive Director of TAMASHA, is a youth activist with more than ten years of experience in a wide variety of youth programmes. He is Executive Secretary of the Tanzania Life Skills Association and is well known both nationally and internationally as a facilitator in youth development, human rights programming and life skills. He has country experience in Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Kenya, Sudan, Papua New Guinea, Somalia, Liberia and Sierra Leone.