It is very heartwarming to read the stories of young people across the world who are championing the cause for positive changes in their communities. You would recall that some months back, I made a call on my social media pages for young Nigerians who are promoting good causes to submit their entries for the Queen’s Young Leader Award. I am particularly proud of the four Nigerians who were selected for this prestigious award. This restates the fact that young people can not only bring real lasting changes through their actions, but they are also having a tremendous impact by serving as role models for other young people.
The Nigerian winners are: Isaiah Owolabi, Kelvin Ogholi, Nkechikwu Azinge and Oladipupo Ajiroba.
Isaiah co-founded HACEY Health Initiative, which helps disadvantaged women and children to lead healthy lives. In 2012 HACEY launched Hands Up For Her, which promotes the rights of African girls. The award will help HACEY develop its Women’s Health and Productivity project, ensuring women in rural areas have access to health services and training.
After seeing livestock farmers – including his father – struggle to pay for feed, Kelvin co-founded UNFIRE. This social enterprise has found a way to produce poultry feeds from organic waste such as mango seeds, seaweeds etc. It costs half the price of normal feed, and so far it has helped more than 70 farmers.
Nkechikwu grew up with close family members who have the hereditary blood disorder sickle cell anaemia. After witnessing the physical, mental and emotional challenges it can lead to, she set up The Sickle Cell Aid Foundation. The organisation encourages people to get tested to know their haemoglobin genotype, and has set up sickle cell clubs in schools to inform and educate young people about the condition.
Growing up with bronchitis made Oladipupo very conscious of pollution. He set up The Environmental Advocacy and Management Initiative, which has engaged more than 10,000 volunteers in campaigns and workshops. Oladipupo intends to use The Queen’s Young Leaders Award to encourage greater respect for the environment and to create green jobs.
There’s a lot that young people can achieve if they set their mind to it. I am very proud of these selected four and say a big Congratulations!
About The Award
The Queen’s Young Leader Award aims to recognise exceptional people aged 18-29, who are taking the lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives. Winners of this prestigious Award will receive a unique package of training, mentoring and networking, including a one-week residential programme in the UK during which they will collect their Award from Her Majesty The Queen. With this support, Award winners will be expected to continue and develop the amazing work they are already doing in their communities.