Young but not alone
This chapter explores the local politics of security provision through an examination of organized youth in countries affected by violent conflict. The role of youth organizations at the local level depends on the characteristics of the neighbourhoods in which they operate and the nature of the communities within them. Youth tend to be disproportionately affected as victims of violence, but they are prime contributors to security and insecurity. To ensure their legitimacy, youth leaders are forced to play constructive roles in serving their communities, or risk remaining marginal. In Haiti and Sierra Leone, youth organizations have played a central role in violence. The chapter examines the Bike Riders Unions in the secondary cities of Sierra Leone, focusing on their evolution over time. A disarmament and demobilization programme sponsored by the UN focused on Bel Air as one of its first target areas in its efforts to persuade youth to give up their arms in exchange for cash and training opportunities.