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Tanzania Journal of Health Research

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Youth unemployment, community violence, creating opportunities in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: a qualitative study

Anne H. Outwater, Edward Mgaya, Stephen Msemo, Linda Helgesson, Alison G. Abraham

Abstract


Background: Tanzania has consistently shown in recent decades to have a high overall crime rate.  Although its homicide rate is moderate, Dar es Salaam has an unusually high amount of community violence; more than half of all homicides were due to lynching and vigilantism. Most of these homicides were a reaction to petty theft of purses, cell phones, and domestic meat animals. Employment is hypothesized to decrease petty theft and the resulting homicidal community violence. The objective of this research is to characterize appropriate interventions.

Methods: In-depth interviews took place with proxy respondents of youth who had been killed through community violence. Most respondents were relatives of youth killed by community violence or youth who had directly experienced community violence. A focus group was held with at risk youth.

Results:  “Lack of employment” was the largest node in terms of number of references and sources. It is reported with “Business Ability” and “Normal Life”. Occupational categories for uneducated youth in Dar es Salaam are:  formal employment, agriculture, petty business, and day labour. Stealing, begging and emigration occur when other options have failed. Suggestions for decreasing death by community violence fell into three categories, all to do with employment: employment creation, working with youth in groups, and creating a supportive environment for small enterprises.

Conclusions: Productive occupations are needed, including the revivification of traditional natural resource based industries such as fisheries and forestry. The physical and legal environment must be made conducive for “self-employed non-agricultural workers”.  To optimize potential effectiveness, rigorous experimental research should be conducted, to facilitate humane, equitable, and environmentally sound scale up of youth employment opportunities.




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