Urban Research Series: Civic Engagement 

Insights from young people in six cities 

This report, the fourth in the Urban Research Series, examines civic engagement and social capital among young people living in informal settlements across four countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

civic engagement for safe and inclusive cities.

Strengthening civic engagement among young people, especially those living in poverty, is critical both as an end in itself and because it contributes to human and social development. This means that youth civic engagement is a driving force behind broader development, be it economic, social or political. 

This report has two aims. The first is to examine how young people engage civically and take action to solve local problems, as well as describe their social capital – meaning the extent to which they perceive their communities to be cohesive and trusted and the extent to which they belong to local groups. The second aim is to provide an overview of the effects of the Safe and Inclusive Cities (SAIC) programme on civic engagement and social capital, specifically the impact of belonging to groups. 

This report aims to address research gaps by answering the following questions: 

1. What is young people’s knowledge of local duty bearers? 

2. How do young people act in the cities and communities they live in to solve problems? Are local duty bearers responsive, and does change come about because of young people’s reporting? 

3. What is the state of young people’s social capital? 

4. What is the effect of the SAIC programme on young people’s knowledge of local duty bearers, their taking action on problems and their social capital? 


Report 4: Civic Engagement


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