The Commonwealth has announced the finalists of the Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work. The 16 finalists will each receive a £1,000 grant to advance their development work.
The awards celebrate young people (aged 15-29) in the Commonwealth who are making a positive difference to the lives of others through development initiatives ranging from poverty alleviation to education and protection of the environment.
Young people were nominated from more than 36 countries across the Commonwealth for the awards, which are run by the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Youth Affairs Division (YAD). YAD manages the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP).
Four of the finalists will also be awarded a further £2,000 as Regional Winners, and a further £2,000 will be awarded to the Pan-Commonwealth Winner, to be announced at an awards ceremony at the Secretariat’s headquarters in London on 12 March, following Commonwealth Day.
Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba said: “The nominations we have received for the awards demonstrate that young people are making a wonderful and significant contribution to human development in our member states. As partners in development, young people are using creative ideas, new technologies and are bringing tremendous energy to meeting national development goals. All the nominees are remarkable. I am extremely proud of the young people in the Commonwealth, especially this year when we are celebrating 40 years of youth empowerment through the CYP.”
The four Pacific finalists are:
Melissa Edwards, founder of Heyday Festival, Australia
Area of work: Arts and Culture
Julian O’Shea, Director of the Engineers Without Borders Institute and volunteer, Australia
Area of work: Science and Technology
Chanel Tauveve, employer and recipient of the Young Farmer Award 2012 from Samoa’s Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development, Samoa
Area of work: Sustainable Livelihoods and poverty reduction
Jill Wai, Vanuatu Monitoring and Evaluation Program Managers at Youth Challenge, Vanuatu
Area of work: Education, peer education
The finalists were selected at the CYP Regional Centres in Guyana, India, Solomon Islands and Zambia.
Each CYP Regional Centre judging panel was comprised of two representatives from Commonwealth member governments, two representatives from the regional Commonwealth Youth Caucus, and the CYP Regional Centre Director.
The four Regional Winners and the Pan-Commonwealth Winner will be determined by an adjudication panel under the chairmanship of Mrs Masire-Mwamba. The adjudication panel will comprise of the YAD Director, Katherine Ellis, high commissioners and youth leaders.