Children Councils and Young Reporters meet with Political Parties Representatives.
As Tanzania approaches election period, and new political promises are being made by various politicians in the wake of campaigns, children issues also appear high on their agendas. It is however important for children themselves to be part of the voice and to express their concerns, anticipations and requests directly to the political parties as they prepare their election manifestos.
During the meeting with political parties to review their election manifestos, organized by Save the Children in September, 80 children from 10 Children’s Councils and Young Reporters Network gave their feedback to politicians on their manifestos with the focus on key issues pertaining to health and nutrition, education, environment and child participation ( inclusiveness).
They expressed concerns on the promises made by politicians, many of which are not fulfilled, such as free education and health care for children. They requested for free health care to be extended to all children and not only those below the age of 5 yrs. During the debate on corporal punishment and early pregnancies, causing many girls to drop out of school, children recommended that reproductive health and gender education should be introduced in schools from early classes, as well as include children issues while setting aside budgets for education and health, provide meals and first aid kits in schools. There was also a need to improve infrastructure thus allowing children with disabilities to access school facilities, ease of reach of school books and laboratory equipment.
All representatives from political parties were very touched by concerns from children, saying they did not imagine how children were affected by decisions made by adults. In their concluding speech, they gave commitment to work together, regardless of the winning party, to face issues pertaining to children developments and improvement of their elections manifestos as well as take initiative to follow up on the new leaders to ensure accomplishment of the proposed agendas for the next 5 years.