Youth-led report launched ahead of Sierra Leone elections

02 Mar 18
Sierra Leone

Young Sierra Leoneans are proving they are kingmakers not troublemakers in a new report, conducted ahead of the country’s 2018 elections.

The State of the Youth report, based on a youth-led research study in three districts, covered the threat of violence, whether young people feel free to express their political views, whether they will vote and what are the most important issues they face.

The research was conducted with support from UNICEF.

Key findings included:

  • Young Sierra Leoneans have registered to vote in record numbers and believe that elections are the only way that change can happen.
  • Young people expect the election to be violence-free and strongly reject any notion that power can change hands through violent means.
  • Young people are approaching the election with an unprecedented sense of duty.
  • Some young people have been put off by the intimidation of others in the run up to the election.
  • Education and employment are the biggest policy concerns.

Restless Development’s Sierra Leone director Francis Kaikumba said: “Like many others, I am tired of hearing young people in Sierra Leone talked about in phrases steeped in negativity. Too often we see young people through the lens of the risks they pose to the country.

“This report is not sentimental – it does not shy away from the challenges young people are working through but it ultimately presents a picture of hope.

“Young people will be decisive in crowning the victor in the 2018 election. Whichever presidential candidate gets the keys to State Lodge will do so because they managed to secure the votes of young people in good number.”

The report was launched at Restless Development Sierra Leone on March 2.

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