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The aim of this research is to look into the contributions International Non-Government Organizations
have been making in the area of youth empowerment taking a case study of a youth leading
organization (Restless Development) the review was carried out in the Bombali District, Northern
Sierra Leone. By looking at work of four operational chiefdoms of Restless Development were
involved in the collection of data to be presented as the research findings, and four staff from the
organization also participated in the research process. Empowering the youth is key in the development
of communities, nations and the world at large. I pre purely look on how the organizations dealing
with youth activities in the country with special focus of Restless Development Sierra Leone based on
their operations in the Bombali District as it is been attracted by many other districts to seek education,
employment and better health care facilities. The objectives of the study were; how has youth’s
empowerment been important in Sierra Leone? To find more solutions to youth empowerment and
identify recommendations for future youth empowerment. This will specifically look at the general
situation of youth in the country before, during and after the civil war.
The concept of youth empowerment is not a new thing in the history of development and policy
makers. The issue is so serious that it’s not just a concern for the government of Sierra Leone, but for
the world at large. “Youth empowerment is often addressed as a gateway to intergenerational equity,
civic engagement and democracy building. Many local, state, provincial, regional, national and
international government agencies and non-profit community based organisations provide
programmes centered on youth empowerment” The issues of youth is a serious agenda in the
discussions of the UN, Common Wealth, EU, ECOWAS NON-Governmental Organisations and
National government all over the world.
This will specifically look at the general situation of youth in the country before, during and after the
civil war. “The 2007 World Bank Report identifies Youth as the transitional phase from childhood to
adulthood when young people through a process of intense physiological, psychological, social and
economic change gradually come to be recognised and recognised themselves as adult” 9 world Bank
report 2007 page 6 In the report, five live transitions were identified that take place during this period:
learning as adolescents and young adults, forming families, starting a productive working life,
adopting to healthy lifestyle and exercising active citizenship. These five transitions stated in the report
is very much challenging for youth in Sierra Leone since most were active in the civil conflict and has
not feel the grip of these transitions fully. It has really been a serious concern for the government,

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according to the National Youth Policy, “Sierra Leone has a youthful population of about 55% of the
total population of about 5.9 million and growing 2.6 percent per annum” “Due to the war, an estimated
700,000 of the displaced in Sierra Leone were children and youth, some 9000 were maimed, orphaned
or separated from their parents. A sizeable of them were combatants who currently live/make a living
on the street” Sierra Leone National Youth Policy. In a more simple sense, there are lots of youth on
the street that have little or nothing to do to change their current situation, therefore any opportunity
they are offered they see it as a blessing in disguise.
Youth empowerment is focused most times on wide range political issues, such as in the
transformation from a state that is autocratic to make it democratic or the changing of very corrupt
government officials in the country. Many youth’s advocacy organisations in the past have shown
serious concerns in the political situation of Sierra Leone. Empowerment encompasses a much wider
and broad definition other than just looking at it as political empowerment it goes far beyond that just
as how today the rights of the human person is not limited to just civil and political rights but also
include that of socio-economic and the right to development.
Sierra Leone faces a massive youth employment challenge. Only 4% of young people are fully
employed, while one in three urban and one in six rural 20-24 year olds are economically inactive (i.e.
not contributing to household income)i
. The majority of 15-35 year olds are underemployed,
unemployed and/or in low-paying or poor quality jobs which are insecure and have few prospects for
advancement. Despite impressive bounce-back growth following the end of the civil war, the economy
continues to be hampered by limited private sector development, weak local purchasing and poor
infrastructure and these, amongst other factors is failing to generate the jobs demanded by the large
and growing youth population (80% of Sierra Leoneans are under 35, 34% fall between the ages of 15
and 35)”ii
Restless Development has been playing significant roles in the area of providing different forms of
youth empowerment, since it intervention in the country, the organization has touched the lives of up
to 1560 Young Sierra Leoneans whom they do refer to as young leaders that have spent months outside
their home communities and during the outbreak of the Ebola in Sierra Leone, the organization was
part of a consortium called Social Mobilization Action Consortium (SMAC) where they also recruited
up to 2460 Sierra Leoneans both male and female, young and old from community and district level
mobilisers to help communities in the breaking of the EVD transmission.
Sierra Leone Youth Report_Final3 – UNDP in Sierra Leone

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A framework for a National Youth Service in Sierra Leone
Young People in Sierra Leone Today Challenges, Aspirations, Experiences
A state of the youth report compiled by Restless Development Sierra Leone May 2012
The World Bank Annual Report 2007 – World Bank Group improving opportunities for sustainable youth
employment in Sierra Leone
Statistics SL – Census 2004 – Statistics Sierra Leone
United Nations Youth Agenda
Sierra Leone Human Development Report 2007 Empowering Local Government For Sustainable
Development And Poverty Reduction

Prof. Michael Poter Harvard Business School in Tomorrow’s Markets
The World Bank report 28th June 2007 – improving opportunities for sustainable youth employment
in Sierra Leone)
Sierra Leone National Youth Policy

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World Bank Report 2007
UNDP Sierra Leone Human Development Index Report 2007
Statistics Sierra Leone 2004
Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission report volume 3b page 344
IRED Nord- people’s empowerment
ENCISS, World Bank 2007
Oxford Dictionary of Current English
UN Agenda for Youth
Juan Soma -via, Director-general of the ILO
Drew Gardiner
Prof. Michael Poter Harvard Business School in Tomorrow’s Markets
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, Managing Director, World Bank.

Where is Bombali ?