Ahead of Y Care International representation at next week’s World Urban Forum, we caught up with Alessandra, our Africa & Caribbean Programme Coordinator for part two of our pre-conference interview.
Alessandra has spent the last three years coordinating a project that supports young people living in Liberia’s slum communities.
At the conference next week, YMCA Liberia will be joined by several young people who are slum dwellers. This is likely to have been the first time they will have travelled abroad.
But why is our work in slum communities so important? What particular challenges do slum dwellers face? Alessandra shares her insights.
Young people living in slum communities in Liberia are often excluded from other parts of society. This means authorities ignore them and thus they are vulnerable to lots of problems in society.
At Y Care International we really value young people and see their potential. Liberia has a very large population of young people and most of them live in slum communities making them very vulnerable. They suffer from problems such as lack of access to land, limited income, disaster proneness and precarious living situations; all with no support from the government. Overcrowding in slums also leads to higher risks or diseases because of poor sanitation and limited access to safe and clean water.
It’s clear that our assistance is needed and welcomed. Through our project we have supported young people to receive training in skills to set up their own businesses which will enable them to support themselves and their families. We’ve also trained young people from slum communities as community leaders to raise awareness of the right to access basic services and participate in local decision making to benefit the whole community.
We have also worked in other countries with similar problems such as Togo and Sierra Leone, and are looking forward to highlighting these issues at the World Urban Forum next week.