Sierra leone is experiencing rapid urbanisation, and youth is the most urbanised age group.
A life in the city carries promises of education, employment, higher living standards, and less social control from older generations.
But the expected freedom of urban life is far from reality. Youth face challenges of social exclusion, lack of livelihood, and of participation in decision making processes. Many live in slums and fend for a living in the informal sector.
As a growing number of people put pressure on the city, the risk and scale of disasters, and the fragility of urban youth increase.
While the youth of Sierra Leone are an enormous resource, their wellbeing is under immense pressure.
60% of young people are unemployed, and more than 80% earn less than 2$ per day. Only 57% of the youth population are literate, with poor access to education and high dropout rates.
Girls and women suffer discrimination, early marriage, teenage pregnancy, and gender-based violence exacerbate unequal opportunities.
In 2015, WHO ranked Sierra Leone the worst country in the world to be a young person. Core challenges include diseases, malnourishment, traffic accidents, and violence- and youth participation
is challenged by narrow visions of the needs of young people, and low awareness among youth of policies influencing their wellbeing.