Young volunteers in Liberia and Sierra Leone are researching the barriers young people face in finding jobs or starting their own businesses.

Last year we launched a pilot project to capture the views and experiences of young people in communities recovering from Ebola, and trying to get into work or start their own business.

Lauren Kocher reports from Sierra Leone and Liberia after meeting International Citizen Service (ICS) volunteers who helped launch the innovative project.

The idea behind the project is to empower young in-country volunteers to lead research identifying the needs of their peers in host communities for support relating to enterprise and employability.

In February the volunteers trained in order to carry out this important work which will be crucial in developing further training and a toolkit for other young volunteers and organisations to replicate in their own communities. The research is also essential as the volunteers will capture and analyse the views and experiences of young people regarding barriers to work and entrepreneurship and bring this to policy makers.

Overall the training was a great success as volunteers were given the opportunity to learn more about research

“I have learnt about research, the method, types, and inputting data into excel and what is data.” said one volunteer in Makeni, Sierra Leone.

It was vital for the volunteers to also understand what kind of barriers might arise, “It was useful to think about how to manage difficult situations when asking for people’s opinions on a personal subject.” said another from the team in Kenema, Sierra Leone.

  • The teams also came up with key questions they would be asking during their research in the area including the overarching:
  • Kenema, Sierra Leone – ‘How do individuals who have no access to education gain access to jobs?’
  • Makeni, Sierra Leone – ‘What are the barriers to and support services in place for starting up and maintaining youth led businesses in Makeni’
  • Liberia – ‘How are young people with various experiences of education supported to get a job or start a business?’

The groups will receive further training on analysis and reporting towards the end of the project and we are really excited to hear their reports in to enable other  volunteers from all agencies to learn from this really exciting and innovative project.

Click here to find out more about the collecting youth voices for enterprise choices project.