Tanzanian Young Leader Works to Build Stronger Communities
Published on: 06.07.2018
Interview with Pius Mbogo Matune from Tanzania, director and founder of Tengeneza Generation (TEG) youth-led organization
Pius Mbongo Matune founded Tengeneza Generation (TEG), an organization that uses the ESD model on the implementation of various projects. In 2014, Pius initiated two projects: Tupendane, which means ‘love one another’ and seeks to help people with disabilities, to promote rights and welfare and Mimi Na Mazingira project that means Me and Environment. It aims to protect and conserve biodiversity and forest management in Eastern Arc mountains/forest Morogoro Tanzania. Pius raised funds for several projects and he also trains and empowers young leaders. Recently, Pius was one of the young leaders that attended the UNESCO ESD Youth Conference ‘Youth Saves the Planet’ 14-16 May in Paris.
Pius, can you tell us more about your projects and your motivation?
I believe as young person It’s my duty to support my community and that’s what motivates my work.
I am implementing two projects: Mimi Na Mazngira (MAMA) project, funded by and in partnership with the French embassy in Tanzania. This project aims to work closely with Tanzanian youth to protect natural resources – namely forests. Up to date, the project has seen over 36,000 indigenous trees planted in the Eastern Arc Mountain region of Morogoro. My capacity building training is developed using the ESD model. To achieve this, I trained more than 300 youth to become passionate environmentalists.
Secondly, the Tupendane project. Tupendane means ‘love one another’. I have delivered awareness-raising campaigns for people with albinism (PWA) and for people that are visually impaired. I have also fundraised alongside this campaign, securing essential materials for these groups, enabling them to have improved health and education. I have provided 1,236 sun scream bottles, worked with over 100 children living with albinism and supported 312 PWAs to better protect their skin from the sun. I campaign for those that are visually impaired I secured a $5,000 USD embosser machine able to print braille and over $2,000 USD worth of special printing paper for a school for youth that is visually impaired. I have achieved these goals by working in partnership with Raleigh Tanzania, Braeburn International Tanzania, Tanzania Albinism Society Morogoro and the Diplomatic Spouse Group (DSG).
How many communities in Tanzania are you operating in?
TEG is eligible to operate in the mainland Tanzania, my office is based in Morogoro, Tanzania. Our projects are currently operating mainly in four regions which are Morogoro, Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam and Mwanza region.
How many young people participate in your training?
In MAMA and Tupendane projects have built capacities for about 230 young people both with disabilities and Non-disabilities across the nation with support from Raleigh Tanzania and French Embassy Tanzania about leadership, forest management, ESD model, and communication.
How do you see your work and projects within the global initiatives to achieve the SDGs?
As a global active citizen, I believe I have much to learn and collaborate. Through the two projects, I am working on I believe am contributing in SDGs especially Goal 4,5 13 and 17. Through collaboration, I will contribute much to my community.
How difficult is to explain to people the importance of the SDGs?
Most of the people especially youth in institutions like schools and universities have basic knowledge about SDGs. Although most people don’t understand what SDGs are especially marginalized communities like people with disabilities. It’s difficult since they lack information about current issues conducted by the government and international organizations. The methods we use are to explain the history of SDGs and our government contribution so as they can have a clear picture of SDGs and their direct contribution.
How can you describe your experience as a young leader in the UNESCO ESD Youth Conference in Paris?
UNESCO ESD is different from other youth conferences I have attended. They are more practical and as a young leader, this is the experience I was aiming for since it directly connects to our initiatives. ESD has enhanced my understanding of international development and build a connection with international/ global citizens. Currently working with my project partners in designing projects for people with disabilities in scaling ESD to marginalized communities.
What are the challenges that young people face in Tanzania?
Lack of right information is a challenge for us (youth). Many tend not be able to accurately access the right information because they don’t know where to begin, and youth are connected to many platforms which are not exposed to the right information. Some of the youth especially people with disabilities tend not to access the right information because of methods used to communicate. Those methods are not friendly to their environment. I can mention an example: the use of images for visually impaired people.
Please, can you tell us what inspires you?
Being young is a gift of life, to pioneer for other to have happily and sustainable world, That’s what inspires my work.
How do you raise funds?
I receive funds through donation, partial funds from donors and one of the project is funded by the French embassy Tanzania also my organization is supported by a company called Mohere Enterprises and in-kind support through friends, cousins
Have you ever thought to turn to social entrepreneurship?
I want my organization to be independent and social entrepreneurship is the plan I aim to reach within five years. I plan to begin by enhancing current projects to livelihood projects to the communities where my organization is operating.
Do you have any advice for young people that want to have an impact?
If we young people work together and support one another we can achieve our goals.