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I am Tamanda Mhango, Malawian by nationality and Tonga by tribe. I am a young woman turning 22 in August and I hold bachelor’s degree in social sciences (human rights major and development studies minor). I define myself as a strategic, considerate, teachable, sensitive, strong minded and friendly young woman. Most people say I am phlegmatic; this personality is the reason why I did choose a career that does concern people’s social being. Growing up in Africa and being a Malawian has gloomed me to be a young woman I am today, our culture and values are suited for humanity. Perhaps this is why my country is known as the Warm Heart of Africa, the kindness we are known with comes from how we are raised and taught in the midst of our culture.

I am passionate about women and children’s rights, youth rights, young women empowerment and the empowerment of people living with disabilities. This is because these groups of people face double vulnerabilities due to several factors in our developing country, so for effective change personally I feel like being passionate about this can eliminate limitations and develop in me a usual capability of using every platform to influence positive change.

My special interest in applying to participate in the south to south Youth participation exchange learning was; my knowledge in youth rights, empowerment and how youth rights to participate in governance and decision making is an approach to development in African countries. This is an opportunity I envied most; the exchange program had made me witness the practical version of how governance and decision making affects lives of youth.  Learning from Zimbabwe has been interesting, Zimbabwe is a good nation with strong minded people and most of them are literate. This being the case, I have learnt a lot of essential lessons relating to this exchange’s program from different people with different backgrounds as each one of them seemed to know something. One of the interesting things I have learnt is on how Zimbabweans are making it a priority to empower young women and people living with disabilities, this empowerment is in line with enhancing engagement in development processes and decision making. Youths also seem to understand the complex relationship between governance and policy making, those governing the country are mostly the ones making policies and this is why youths are working hard to participate in governance so that they will be able to influence policies that address their challenges.

All in all African Zimbabwe and Malawi are young countries; youth from both countries are facing same challenges, so I make sure I learn as much as I can  since the solutions youths in Zimbabwe are using to achieve youth participation are so much applicable in my country.