Gemma Munday is the International Marketing & Communications Coordinator at Restless Development. She visited a very special village in Tanzania, here she explains why.
At a glance Malanzinga village in rural Tanzania might seem like a fairly ordinary place, aside from the fact that there is no clean running water or electricity, but there are some amazing things happening there.
1. The students have demanded better from their government.
If you had no running water in your village, so you had to walk 1km at least once a day to collect it, what would you do? Well the students of Malanzinga decided to write a letter to their government asking for clean water. Their headteacher explains just how determined the students are to solve this problem in the community.
“The students here are strong – they have something in them that will make change come. It’s more powerful when young people come together to solve a problem because they come from different backgrounds and can share their ideas. My biggest dream is that one day I will see my students have a different standard of life. I expect them to take the knowledge they have and improve their lives.” – Dennis Myovela, Deputy Headmaster Mlowa Secondary School.
2. Because of this girl.
One of these students, Eva, started a petition to make sure her school and the whole community get the clean water they need. Her petition now has over 110,000 signatures, make sure you’re one of them too. At just 15 years old, she is showing how young people really can lead, starting from their communities and influencing the rest of the world.
3. President Obama says so.
What does President Obama have to do with this rural village in Tanzania? Well thanks to Eva’s inspiring letter she wrote to him, he found out all about Malanzinga and challenged global leaders to do more to achieve a better world.
Check out his response to her letter in his inspiring United Nations Summit speech.
4. They are showing the rest of the world how to get leaders to keep their promises.
It’s clear that the whole community have been very active in trying to solve the problem of having no clean water. All the adults in the village thought that if they chipped in their own money maybe the government would come and help build a well. Every adult in the village donated 8,500 shillings to buy water pipes so that the entire community could have access to clean water. That’s a lot of money in Malanzinga, and can feed a family for a week.
However the water pipes have been waiting in the village for four years. The whole community has rallied behind Eva and her petition, and are a model for the rest of the world. They are showing how citizens can hold leaders to the promises they make. The community has been waiting for clean water for too long, now it’s time for their voices to be heard.
5. It’s where Youth Power began.
Margaret Milwa, Restless Development Tanzania Country Director, explains what Youth Power means, and why it’s important for the world.
“Malanzinga is special because it has young people with lots of initiative. The fact that Eva wrote a letter to president Obama, and he was able to capture her aspirations, shows that the young people of Malanzinga have hopes and they want to see these accomplished.
“Youth Power is enabling young people to take action. Eva and her classmates are proving that young people can and do create change in their communities. World leaders have signed up to Global Goals that promise to end poverty, inequality, and climate change. These are promises to their citizens. We now have the chance in Tanzania to show the world how to turn these promises into reality, but we need the collective power of young people to make it happen.”