Too often young people’s views and experience of working life are unheard and do not influence decisions about projects or policy. We are piloting new ways for International Citizen Service volunteers to capture and share the views of their peers.

Alongside their community development activities, Y Care International volunteers will capture the views of young people. Photo: YMCA Kaolack Alongside their community development activities, Y Care International volunteers will capture the views of young people.

Between 2014 – 16 nearly 25,000 people died from Ebola across Liberia and Sierra Leone. In both countries young people were affected as services closed, friends and families were killed and the economy suffered. Whilst both countries are striving to overcome the virus and recover; young people now have fewer opportunities for work. For many young people, their views and experiences have been unheard and we do not understand the barriers that they face to finding work in post-Ebola communities.

How we are helping
We have been supporting communities in Liberia and Sierra Leone affected by Ebola. In early 2017, as part of our International Citizen Service, we will bring together young people from the UK and Sierra Leone and Liberia as volunteer researchers. Together they will capture the views and experiences of young people in communities recovering from Ebola, and trying to get into work or start their own business.

Our expert staff will develop tools and lead training for the young volunteers to understand enterprise and livelihood issues and how to conduct youth-led research. Over a ten week period the young people will reach out to young people in areas ravaged by Ebola using methods such as interviews, focus groups and surveys. They will start to better understand the barriers to and experiences of work in those communities and how they have been impacted by Ebola.

Together with our staff, the young people will analyse the views collected to gain a deeper understanding of what is happening to young people in those communities. They will draft a report that will put young people’s views forward and share this with policy makers and practitioners.

Our goals

  • Train 30 young British volunteers and 30 young Sierra Leonean and Liberian volunteers in research methods
  • Reach hundreds of young people in Ebola-affected communities in Liberia and Sierra Leone to capture their views and experiences of work
  • Support young people to publish two research reports
  • Ensure policy makers and practitioners hear the views of young Sierra Leoneans and Liberians
  • Publish a Toolkit for Youth Led Research on Enterprise to allow others to use the tools developed

To achieve this, we are working with Sierra Leone YMCA and Liberia YMCA. The project is part of the International Citizen Service led by VSO, funded by the UK Government and delivered by respected development organisations. This is a pilot project to assess how ICS volunteers can use innovative approaches to deliver change.

This project is funded by the Department for International Development

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More about our work here

Alongside their community development activities, Y Care International volunteers will capture the views of young people. Photo: YMCA Kaolack

Liberia

Young people in Liberia have grown up in a country scarred by civil war. The conflict claimed more than 200,000 lives and destroyed the economy, the education system, and most of the country’s infrastructure.

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