Young Africans awarded As Queen's Young Leaders For 2016

By Royal Commonwealth Society

It is today announced that 60 young people from across the Commonwealth are being recognised as exceptional leaders in their community and will receive a prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award. The Award, which will be presented in London by Her Majesty The Queen in 2016, and is part of The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme, celebrates the achievements of young people who are taking the lead to transform the lives of others and make a lasting difference in their communities.

This year’s Award winners, aged between 18 and 29 and who come from all over the Commonwealth, are working to support others, raise awareness and inspire change on a variety of different issues including; education, climate change, gender equality, mental health and disability equality.

The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme was established in 2014 by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust in partnership with Comic Relief and the Royal Commonwealth Society in recognition of The Queen’s lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.

Over the next three years the Programme will support thousands of young people to achieve their goals. Dr Astrid Bonfield, Chief Executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust said: “Once again 60 incredible young people from around the Commonwealth have shown strength, leadership, empathy and drive. Some of our winners are just embarking on their leadership journey and others are more established. Either way, we recognise not only what these amazing young people have achieved, but also their potential in changing people’s lives for the better in the countries and communities in which they live.”

To see a full list of Award winners and Highly Commended runners up, and read more about their stories please visit

Queen’s Young Leaders on social media Twitter: @queensleaders Instagram: @queensyoungleaders Facebook: Hashtag: #QueensYoungLeaders #TheSearchIsOn The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, in partnership with Comic Relief and The Royal Commonwealth Society, has established The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme in honour of Her Majesty The Queen’s 60 years of service to the Commonwealth at the time of her Diamond Jubilee. Guided by the values of the Commonwealth Charter, the goal of the Programme is to enable young people to step up as leaders and improve the lives of people across the Commonwealth.

Award details Each year from 2014 to 2018, 60 exceptional young people will be selected to receive a Queen’s Young Leaders Award and become ‘Queen’s Young Leaders’ – one for every year that The Queen had served as Head of the Commonwealth at the time of her Diamond Jubilee.

This year’s Award winners are aged between 18 and 29 and are working to support others, raise awareness and inspire change on a variety of different issues including education, climate change, gender equality, mental health and disability equality. As part of the Award, winners will receive bespoke mentoring and online learning provided by the University of Cambridge. Award winners will attend a week-long residential programme in the UK in June, when they will receive their Award at Buckingham Palace from Her Majesty The Queen. Criteria to win an award:

** Nominees will have proven experience of working to improve their communities locally, regionally or at a national level and will show evidence of their achievements ** Nominees will be aged between 18 and 29 for the year of the Award and be citizens of a Commonwealth country

** Nominees will demonstrate evidence of their leadership qualities

** Priority will be given to individuals who have overcome challenges to achieve their goals

** All nominees will need to be supported by a suitable referee The Partners The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust is a charitable foundation, established in 2012, to mark and celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s 60-year contribution to the Commonwealth.

The Trust has received donations from governments, corporate partners, trusts, foundations, community groups and individuals from across the Commonwealth, and its programmes work in alliance towards eliminating avoidable blindness and to empower a new generation of young leaders. With a five-year timeframe in which to deliver successful programmes, the Trust’s aim is to leave a lasting legacy, owned by the whole Commonwealth, to honour Her Majesty The Queen. For more information go to: Comic Relief Established in 1985, Comic Relief is a major UK fundraising and grant making charity which uses the power of entertainment to create long-lasting change. Its vision is a just world, free from poverty.

It strives to make this vision a reality by supporting poor, disadvantages and vulnerable people in the UK and across some of the world’s poorest communities to change their own lives for the better. Discover more at: The Royal Commonwealth Society The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS), founded in 1868, is a network of individuals and organisations committed to improving the lives and prospects of Commonwealth citizens across the world. Working through a range of educational, civil society, business and governmental networks, the RCS addresses issues that matter to the Commonwealth citizens.

Moitshepi Matsheng, 22 (Botswana) Moitshepi lost her mother to AIDS at the age of six. Growing up she decided to use her story to make a difference in her country and co-founded Young 1ove, which aims to educate students about HIV/AIDS and ‘sugar daddies’. The group has more than 60 young people who lead classes on these issues, which are often difficult to talk about. Young 1ove has worked with over 32,000 students and has received a mandate from the Ministry of Education to reach every girl in Botswana.

The Ministry of Health has also named Young 1ove as the HIV/AIDS Prevention Initiative of the Year. David Morfaw, 22 (Cameroon) As a child, David watched his parents struggle to buy food and pay his school fees. Despite having health problems and being dyslexic, David started his first micro-business aged eight selling water. In 2011 he created Poult-Vault, a social enterprise, which tackles the problems of malnutrition and hunger by supplying chickens as interest-free loans to women and young people. The owners can then sell their produce to pay for the chickens.

David also created a barter system so farmers can pay for their children’s education using crops. Paul-Miki Akpablie, 22 (Ghana) Paul-Miki is the founder and CEO of Kadi Energy, a social business that provides the opportunity for Ghanaiansand other young Africans to empower themselves through business and reliable energy. It aims to reduce the costs of charging mobile phones, laptops and lamps. Paul-Miki came up with the idea in 2013 after discovering some people were spending a large amount of their income on charging their mobile phones.

The Ray 10 charger contains sufficient power to keep a mobile phone on standby mode for seven days. Paul-Miki hopes to impact the lives of 7 million families. Alex Mativo, 21 (Kenya) After witnessing problems in his community caused by toxic pollutants from electronic waste, Alex decided that he wanted to tackle the growing environmental problem facing his country. As a result of the pollutants released when waste was disposed of incorrectly, life expectancy in the area was reduced and health complications were common. In response to the problem Alex founded E-lab, a start-up that aims to reduce electronic waste in Africa by making art, fashion and other innovative products out of it.

The organisation also promotes a culture of safe and responsible e-waste disposal. Peris Bosire, 24 (Kenya) Peris grew up in a farming community and from an early age observed that most farmers lack access to credit to help them make the most of modern agricultural techniques. After graduating from university, Peris co-founded FarmDrive, which aims to bridge the funding gap between farmers and financial institutions. Using technology on simple mobile phones, it keeps records and builds credit profiles for farmers. Farmers now have access to reliable, digital, financial services and they are able to save some of their earnings. Over 800 farmers are using the platform and 3,000 more are due to start in the next six months. Susan Mueni Waita, 21 (Kenya) Susan volunteers as the field coordinator for the girls’ programme of an NGO called Caroline for Kibera.

She coordinates and monitors its activities including organising team building and training ‘safe space’ leaders who speak to girls about sexual and reproductive health. She has become a role model to girls in her community and aims to reach and educate as many girls as she possibly can. Maletsabisa Molapo, 28 (Lesotho) Maletsabisa is a computer engineer and led the team that founded the Her Chance to Be Foundation, an organisation committed to improving the lives of women and girls in Lesotho.

The foundation supports girls from rural areas to go to Lesotho’s top schools with scholarships and mentoring. She is also the founder and lead researcher of the Bophelo Haeso Project, which uses mobile technologies to support health education in rural Lesotho. Asante Mzungu, 18 (Malawi) Asante wants to ensure that young people can benefit from education. In 2013 he began a project distributing books, stationery and uniforms to a primary school with more than 2,000 students. Two years later he started working for Malawi Youth Agents of Change, which aims to help young people from disadvantaged households to acquire entrepreneurial and leadership skills.

He also received admission to the African Leadership Academy, which selects some of the most outstanding young leaders from across Africa. After seeing the increasing cost of textbooks, Asante created a cheaper guide for international GCSE mathematics students and set up the African Publishing Company to produce it. Madalo Banda, 21 (Malawi) From a young age Madalo discovered the benefits of using writing as an outlet to express her feelings. After becoming a law student at the University of Malawi, Madalo co-founded Loud Ink.

The organisation aims to address HIV/AIDS, child abuse and other social issues by providing a platform for young people to express their feelings through creative writing. The group is currently working with five secondary schools. Members also hope to raise awareness of the lack of library books in many schools by publishing an anthology of the stories they have collected from students. Deegesh Maywah, 27 (Mauritius) Deegesh has always been interested in community development and completed a Master’s degree in public health in the United Kingdom.

During his time in the country he encountered a person living with a disability working in a supermarket. After seeing the difference it made to that individual’s life, Deegesh returned home and co-founded Employ-Ability, which aims to help people living with disabilities to enter the workforce. Since it began, the organisation has helped 186 people into employment and trained more than 250 people to live independently. Deegesh also works with employers to encourage them to hire people living with disabilities. Drucila Meireles, 28 (Mozambique) Drucila is working to end domestic violence in her community. She is the Programmes Officer for LeMuSICa, an NGO, which advocates for women and vulnerable youths and supports clients who are victims of domestic violence.

Drucila is responsible for a team of six officers and her work includes supporting women in court; training girls’ clubs in the community and schools about equalityand accompanying HIV/AIDS patients to hospital for checkups. She also holds community meetings for both men and women to talk about the problems the community is facing and to find possible solutions. Imrana Alhaji Buba, 23 (Nigeria) Imrana is the founder of an organization, which encourages peace building. Since 2010 he has partnered with local groups to visit surrounding villages to carry out community building and youth education programmes. His organisation now has more than 600 members. Imrana also offers training for unemployed young people.

He has been selected for the Generation Change Fellowship of the United States Institute of Peace and was also inducted into the Global Alliance for Youth Leaders. Imrana offers training for unemployed young people to help them channel their potential in order to maximise the community building work he has carried out. Olanrewaju Adeloye, 23 (Nigeria) Olanrewaju has always had an interest in health care and went to university to study medical physiology. Three years later he worked as an intern at a small primary health centre, in a deprived area, which served over 12,000 pregnant mothers and newborns a month.

As a result of this experience he co-founded SaferMom; a startup, which uses low cost mobile technologies (SMS, voice services and apps) to engage mothers with health information through pregnancy and their baby’s early years. More than 900 women in nine rural communities now use this service. Olumide Femi Makanjuola, 28 (Nigeria) Olumide has been working for almost a decade in the LGBTI+ sphere. His work includes offering sexual health and human rights education and services to LGBTI+ persons in Nigeria.

In 2013 he helped produce a documentary on the impact of the same sex marriage prohibition law on LGBTI+ persons called Veil of Silence, which has been screened in over 14 countries. Olumide has spoken about his work at the European Union Parliament, European Asylum Support Office, the World Pride Human Rights Conference and other related forums.

Nancy Sibo, 22 (Rwanda) In 2014 Nancy was named the first ever Ms Geek in Rwanda for an app. she developed called Mobile Cow. The app. helps livestock farmers to monitor the estrous cycle of their cows and improve productivity by linking them to the market. She also trains farmers in agroecology (sustainable agriculture) in order to reduce poverty and enhance food security. Nancy is the co- founder of the Miheha bag initiative, which uses recycled plastic drinking straws to create products such as handbags, earrings and belts.

As well as being environmentally friendly, the project enables vulnerable women to make an income for themselves. Angelique Pouponneau, 25 (Seychelles) Angelique co-founded the Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) Youth AIMS Hub Seychelles, which works to preserve the environment. The sustainable development of small islands is particularly important to Angelique and her organisation has successfully helped to teach young people about the role they can play in caring for their homeland.

The group is currently running a Seychelles Free from Plastic Bags campaign. Angelique was also elected as a speaker of the Seychelles National Youth Assembly where she has raised awareness of the importance of including young people in decision-making. Angelique hopes to increase access to education, information and training to the LGBTI+ community to help improve their access to economic services.

Howard Nelson-Williams, 27 (Sierra Leone) During his time at medical school, Howard helped to create a national medical students association in Sierra Leone (SLEMSA), which aims to provide a forum for students to promote health in their communities. After graduating he became an intern at a surgical referral centre, before going on to study for a Master’s in Public Health degree at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US. Since the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, Howard has dedicated his time to advocacy and research into controlling the spread of the disease and working out how to rebuild the country’s healthcare system.

Lethabo Ashleigh Letube, 19 (South Africa) Lethabo grew up in the Langa township in Cape Town. She is involved in Project Playground, a play centre that gives pupils a place to go after school. The children take part in activities including dance, football and drama and receive a hot meal each day. Lethabo is the Chairwoman of a violence and crime intervention initiative called Great Corner Lugna Gatan.

The programme aims to gives young people a second chance and tries to improve local communities. Young People who are using drugs or alcohol are offered classes to help them to turn their lives around. Jessica Dewhurst, 23 (South Africa) Jessica started volunteering in NGO camps at the age of 15, supporting refugees, young people and children with HIV/AIDS and victims of physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

At 18 she became the youth coordinator for The Edmund Rice Network for South Africa, training young people to start community- based projects. In 2013 she co-founded The Social Justice & Advocacy Desk for South Central Africa. The organisation offers services including skills courses to help vulnerable young people find employment; an In-Reach Programme which trains, mentors and houses young people; and human rights training.

Rachel Nungu, 27 (Tanzania) Rachel is a doctor and the national coordinator of a medical programme to help children who are born with clubfoot. The programme uses a non-surgical method called the Ponseti method to treat patients. Children born with clubfoot are often hidden away, so Rachel has built good relationships with community leaders to spread awareness of the condition and its treatment. She has contributed to the establishment of partnerships with clinics in different regions and has trained staff.

So far, more than 100 children have been treated, and in the future the group hopes to help more of the 3,000 children who are born with the condition every year. Josephine Nabukenya, 21 (Uganda) Josephine was born HIV positive and attends the Makerere University and Johns Hopkins University (MUJHU) research centre, which aims to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

With a group of friends she created a group called MUJHU Young Generation Alive (YGA) in response to the fact that young people with HIV have different psychosocial needs to their parents. YGA has more than 200 members. Josephine’s role includes planning support meetings, computer skills training and running music, dance and drama groups. She also advocates for paediatric HIV care and works to combat stigma.