I am most passionate about Goal 3, because health is everything for a human life. If your health is not good you cannot get educated, you cannot get good nutrition, you cannot get a job. In short all other goals depend on people being healthy.
Suhaila's time at UNGA in 2015
Suhaila lends her voice to this song and music video about ending child marriage in Tanzania
For the first time in history, the Pope addresses the world leaders at the General Assembly. For the first time Save the Children’s child delegates sat at the General Assembly. As Malala made her statement, our child delegates stood besides her holding the lamps - representing the hopes of children around the world. And the world saw the launch of the new Sustainable Development Goals.
Suhaila had the pleasure of meeting the President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete and speak to him about the challenges faced by children in Tanzania.
Suhaila was on a panel with Amina J Mohamed, Bill and Melinda Gates and Carolyn Miles, CEO Save the Children US. It was a press conference discussing the progress made by the Every Woman Every Child’s updated Global Strategy. It was a proud moment!
She and his fellow delegates brought in all their energy for the #LightTheWay action/2015 event. The event was headlined by these child delegates, where they took the stage and encouraged everyone present to demand for change!
Suhaila's thoughts on SDGs
It’s now been a year since you came to New York and participated in the United Nations General Assembly where the 17 Sustainable Development Goals were adopted. How has it changed your life?
I now have more experience in public speaking and know how to raise awareness among children & youth about children’s issues, and the 17 global goals. I also know and understand my responsibilities as a young person in a national context, and how my own contributions in different ways can lead to national development. And finally, it has helped me discover who I really am as a person and what I can do to help my peers and my country.
Did your experience in New York make you more aware of any particular important development issues and possible solutions that you weren’t aware of before?
I got to understand that the problems that we as youth & children face could be solved through our own participation and inclusion. For example: As a young reporter I have learned a lot of things about children’s issues, and this has made me aware of how to protect myself or where to go or what to do when anything happens to me or other children.
I also know how children who have HIV feel like they do not want to tell people due to fear of being lonely & excluded. But I am able to tell them that I tell people about my HIV status and I use it to make me stronger and I am NOT excluded.
What advice would you give to other children / youth delegates who will be travelling to New York for the United Nations General Assembly this year?
My advice is - feel blessed with this opportunity you have. Be completely transparent and not feel ashamed of telling everybody what the real situation & real life is for children in your country.
One year on, how do you think the Sustainable Development Goals have helped your country and community? Alternatively, if you don’t think they have helped, why do you think they haven’t made a difference?
No they have not yet helped, because our government is still young. Also for example the MDGs took so many years, so imagine this is our first year of reviewing the SDGs. It is too early to expect that any improvements be made in any of the sectors.
How have you involved other children / youth or your community in your campaigning activities towards the Sustainable Development Goals since leaving New York?
I have used social media a lot. And also I have sat down with fellow peers, through NGO’s, and informed them about the 17 SDGs and how we also have full responsibility in achieving these goals. We ARE the government as well! And of course whenever i get the opportunity, I talk about this with my family, friends and neighbors.
What is the one thing you want your government to do to make life better for the children in your country?
More advocacies, campaigning and fund to support and inclusion for children with special needs and disabilities.
Please describe some of the ways you would like to promote the Sustainable Development Goals in the future.
I would like within my capacity as a young reporter, to do small awareness raising classes with children & youth in Zanzibar, then pick ambassadors among them and give them Radio air time to speak out about the SDGs to the community. As normal people out there are not aware of the SDGs only few well off people and they often keep this knowledge to themselves.
How have you kept in touch with the other child delegates who came to New York? And if you have not been able to stay in contact, what has made it difficult to stay in touch?
I have kept in touch with others, through social media such as Facebook. This has been difficult because I do not have a mobile phone that supports such application. It is on Facebook that people share numbers and experiences etc. So I was missing out a lot as I do not have the time after school to go to Save the children where I can go online. However, a fellow child delegate from Norway came to Tanzania on holiday and really went out of her way to find me through Save the Children office. It was great to meet and share ideas.