Living With Dignity: Youth and Education

Country: Sierra Leone Date Range: 2011 Project Lead: Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity Notre Dame Collaborators: Kellogg Institute for International Studies

In 2011, Notre Dame faculty conducted research in Sierra Leone to investigate the country’s failing post-war educational reform. Interviews were conducted with youth to measure perceptions of education elitism in the villages and a devaluation of the older generations’ way of life. While most youth have access to familial land for farming, the land remains fallow as youth choose unemployment and idleness over working the land. Notre Dame faculty taught several training courses at a local university in Makeni, observing the expectations and conduct of youth in the classroom. The objectives of the project include not only pinpointing sources of frustration and misdirection in the education of the youth but also creating an educational system that creates jobs and certitude in Sierra Leonean communities.