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Global Platform Sierra Leone actively engaged in community-driven initiatives to uplift youth in Bo District

Members of Global Platform

"The Global Platform, a youth-led organization, is a network through which young people come together to share initiatives, strengthen capacity, and work towards making the world more inclusive,"

Marina shed light on the challenges faced by Sierra Leone's youth, exacerbated by inflation and new taxation policies. "Most young people in Sierra Leone are unemployed, compounding our vulnerabilities," she emphasized. "To afford even a basic meal has become a difficulty for many."

The economic strain has driven many young people to desperation, with drug abuse becoming a coping mechanism amid gloomy prospects. "The future looks bleak," Marina acknowledged. "Tertiary education is a luxury most can't afford, leading to limited job opportunities and societal frustrations. For parents who grapple to provide just the everyday meal for the family, their children going to university or acquiring skills training is just out of the picture. "

Marina highlighted the grim reality faced by young women, often exposed to sexual exploitation in their pursuit of employment. “Most young women are met with offers of jobs in return for sexual favors," she revealed. Meanwhile, young men tussle with survival and resort to undesirable alternatives due to limited opportunities. "Some are involved in petty theft and fraud," Marina noted, "which not only endangers them but also compromises societal safety."

She also commented on the limited ability of government to invest in youth-centered initiatives because of debt servicing. “The government is working on putting measures in place to ensure we have a society that favors young people by making tertiary education and skills training programs accessible and affordable for them but their investment in the public sector including education and health is limited because of the stringent fiscal policies of the IMF.”

Despite these challenges, Marina and her peers are actively engaged in community-driven initiatives to uplift youth. "We implement projects to combat drug abuse," Marina shared. “50 young people were trained on the effect of drug abuse, we engaged in community outreach, visited ghettos where they take alcohol and drugs and collaborated with the mental health unit in our city to aid in the rehabilitation of those that suffer from addiction. We also initiated a youth hub to counsel young people twice a weekly to help them change and meaningfully participate in society.”

"We need policies that empower young people," she asserted, "not ones that exacerbate our challenges."