We have piloted new ways for International Citizen Service volunteers to capture and share the views of their peers. Our youth-led research project brought to light the experiences of young people in Liberia and Sierra Leone to access work.

ICS volunteers in Makeni, Sierra Leone International Citizen Service volunteers in Makeni, Sierra Leone draft their final research report on young people's access to employment and work

Too often young people’s views and experience of working life are unheard and do not influence decisions about projects or policy. In Liberia and Sierra Leone 2014 – 16 Ebola outbreak caused big changes to young people’s acess to work. In both countries young people were affected as services closed, friends and families were killed and the economy suffered. 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 supported communities in Liberia and Sierra Leone affected by Ebola. In 2017, as part of our International Citizen Service, young people from the UK and Sierra Leone and Liberia worked together as volunteer researchers. Together they captured the views and experiences of young people in communities recovering from Ebola, and trying to get into work or start their own business.

We developed a range of tools and training for the young volunteers to understand enterprise and livelihood issues and how to conduct youth-led research. Over a six week period the young people reached out to other young people in areas affected by Ebola using methods such as interviews, case studies, focus groups and surveys. With our staff, the young people analysed the views collected to gain a deeper understanding of what is happening to young people in those communities. They drafted a final report to put the young people’s views forward and this has been shared with policy makers and practitioners.

What we achieved

  • Trained 30 young British volunteers and 30 young Sierra Leonean and Liberian volunteers in research methods
  • Reached hundreds of young people in Ebola-affected communities in Liberia and Sierra Leone to capture their views and experiences of work
  • Supported young people to publish two research reports
  • Ensured policy makers and practitioners hear the views of young Sierra Leoneans and Liberians
  • Published a Toolkit for Youth Led Research on Enterprise to allow others to use the tools developed
This project is funded by the Department for International Development

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 was a pilot project to assess how ICS volunteers can use innovative approaches to deliver change.



Related News

More about our work here

ICS volunteers in Makeni, Sierra Leone


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.

Related projects & stories