The Commonwealth Youth Awards, which encourage and sustain investment in youth-led development, are open for 2013 nominations.
Youth workers are encouraged to nominate young people, who are driving innovative projects in any number of areas, including agriculture, small enterprise, skills training, climate change/environment protection, sustainable livelihoods and poverty reduction.
The Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP), promotes the awards as an attempt to raise the profile and highlight the contribution of young people who are integrally involved in the process of change and are working side by side with decision-makers for a more secure future. The awards also give international, regional and national recognition to the young men and women who are selected.
CYP works with 54 Commonwealth member countries through four regional centres based in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific. There will be four finalists per Commonwealth region with the top entry from each region receiving a regional winner award and the top regional winner receiving the pan-Commonwealth award.
Winners are awarded grants to advance the work of their projects and they also liaise closely with the CYP on the best way to use the funding. Nominees for the awards should be aged between 15 and 29 years. Applications close on 30 June 2013.
Evans Wadongo won both the pan-Commonwealth and Africa region 2012 Commonwealth Youth Awards. He received a £5,000 grant for the charity he founded, ‘Use solar, save lives’. Regional winners for Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific each won a £3,000 grant.
At 19, Mr Wadongo designed a solar-powered lantern using recycled materials. Over 27,000 of these lanterns have been produced and distributed across Kenya, providing a safer, cheaper and environmentally friendly lighting alternative to kerosene lamps. His programme has expanded to include building regional youth centres, which provide skills training for young people.