Nominations are now open for the 2018 Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work. This special edition of the awards will coincide with the Commonwealth Youth Forum (CYF) preceding the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London in April 2018 under the theme “Towards a Common Future”. It will highlight the contribution that young people are making throughout the Commonwealth, in areas such as poverty alleviation, conflict resolution and prevention, democracy and environmental preservation.
Young people aged 15 to 29 from Commonwealth member countries are eligible to apply for the awards, which focus this year on raising the profile and celebrating young people’s contribution towards developing a fairer, more sustainable, more secure, and more prosperous future for the Commonwealth; the four sub-themes of CHOGM 2018.
Past awardees have included young social entrepreneurs, human rights defenders, and climate change activists.
A total of 16 finalists will be shortlisted from four Commonwealth regional categories: Africa and Europe; Asia, the Caribbean and Americas; and Pacific. A winner will be selected from each region, and one exceptional entrant will be recognised as the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year at a formal awards presentation in London alongside the CYF next April.
Speaking at the COP23 Commonwealth Intergenerational Dialogue on 13 November 2017, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Patricia Scotland said “Young people have a critical role to play in delivering Our Common Future. In the Commonwealth and across the world, we have seen incredible examples of young people who are being the change they want to see. Their engagement and empowerment is essential to ensuring a prosperous future for all.”
She added: “It is important that we share good practice and celebrate the already considerable impact that young people have had in all fields of work and as trendsetters in their communities. The youth awards demonstrate to leaders and other policymakers the importance of young people’s role in sustaining positive change.”
Last year’s Commonwealth Young Person of the Year was Krystle Reid, an advocate for empowerment of young persons living with disabilities in her native country Sri Lanka. Reflecting on receiving the award she said, “It is a highlight of my life but a great opportunity and platform to further scale up the work of the Enable Lanka Foundation for an incubator space for young entrepreneurs with disabilities. This award will allow me to reach out to even more marginalised groups and communities. It is an opportunity no young person should miss.”
Nominees must have been engaged in development work for more than 12 months either in a professional or voluntary capacity. Entries must be received through an online entry form before 14 December 2017. Entrants can nominate themselves or be nominated by someone who is not a relative and can testify to their work.
The finalists will receive cash grants of GBP £1,000 to continue their development work, and will each be awarded a trophy and certificate. Each regional winner will receive a cash grant of GBP £3,000, while the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year will receive GBP £5,000 to support an ongoing project or initiative.
Awards and shortlisting will be decided on the basis of the impact of the individual’s work, the level of innovation and problem-solving, and the quality of achievements, the sustainability of the work, and supporting evidence provided.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to link their development work and its impact to the outlined four sub-themes on the application link and the 17 SDGs, which were agreed to by the international community just under two years ago. For more information about the Commonwealth Youth Awards, and to apply or nominate someone, please visit: https://commonwealth-youthexcellence.awardsplatform.com