The 2021 Commonwealth Youth Awards are open for entries, with “prestigious” titles and cash grants being offered as prizes, the organisation said on Wednesday.
The awards recognise and reward young people whose work has made a major impact on people and communities in their country, and are open to young leaders from across the 54 Commonwealth countries, who can enter five regional categories, namely: Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Europe and Canada; and Pacific.
A pan-Commonwealth panel will judge the entries based on the impact, sustainability and level of innovation, said the organisation.
Judges will choose 20 finalists who will each receive a trophy, a certificate and £1,000 (R23 000) in cash.
Of the 20, five regional winners will be chosen and awarded an additional £2,000 (R46000).
The finalists and regional winners will be announced during Commonwealth week in March 2021.
There will be an overall winner who will receive the title of Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2021, and a total cash prize of £5,000 (R115000).
The organisation said that this year’s award included special recognition for young people who have made outstanding efforts to tackle development challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has severely upended the lives and prospects of our young people. It has created an unprecedented health challenge, unavoidable disruption to work, training and education, and a future full of uncertainty,” said Commonwealth secretary-general, Patricia Scotland.
She said that without a strong, global response, young people could be staring down the barrel of decades of poverty and unemployment, alongside the social upheaval that comes with economic setbacks.
“But despite these challenges, we are seeing a youth population that is ahead of the curve, harnessing their talent, passion and ingenuity to turn adversity into advantage.
“To recognise their contributions in these turbulent times, the Commonwealth Youth Awards will give young people a global platform to showcase their ideas, solutions and technologies. It will highlight the powerful and positive impact they are making in their communities, countries and across the globe.”
To be eligible, entrants must be Commonwealth citizen aged 15 to 29 years, have been engaged in development work for at least 12 months as a professional or volunteer, and show a strong track record of implementing impactful development work and contribute to one of the 17 sustainable development goals.
Entries must be received by 23:59 on October 21, 2020.
The awards were launched on Wednesday at a Commonwealth Action Series webinar to mark International Youth Day.
Entries can be made via https://commonwealth-youthexcellence.awardsplatform.com/
-ANA; editing by Desiree Erasmus