A Lasting Legacy

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About Us


In 2014 a search was launched to find exceptional young people to receive the first ever Queen’s Young Leaders Awards. Hundreds of applications flooded in from incredible young people all dedicated to making lasting change in their community and beyond. The Programme is now in its fourth and final year and has formed a unique community of 240 influential change-makers, who represent 53 Commonwealth countries.


The Queen’s Young Leader Award recognises and celebrates exceptional people aged 18-29 from across the Commonwealth, 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.


As well as awarding inspirational young people, Queen’s Young Leaders Grants will be made to organisations in selected Commonwealth countries that can show they are improving the lives of young people. Our vision is to provide opportunities for young people to learn new skills, enter employment and give them a voice in their communities. All our funding has now been allocated and applications for grants are closed.

For more information about the Grants programme, please see our FAQs.


  • 2017 #QueensYoungLeader Winnifred Selby on the impact winning the Award has had on her and her work #QYLLEGACY
  • Meet Derick. He is working to raise levels of IT literacy within his community. He is the founder of Tech Era, a programme which introduces underprivileged children in Ghana to technology. To date, it has trained 80 students to use computers and solve problems with robotics. Derick hopes to reach more than 4,000 students in rural Ghana in the next three years and to establish 12 robotics clubs in high schools. His team is also working with visually-impaired students at one school, where the aim is for half of the learners to be able to use a computer and mobile phone within a year. In addition, Derick is the founder of the Berekuso Music Project, which equips students with music and art skills that they might use as a future source of income. #QueensYoungLeaders
  • Meet Bhagya. She is an urban gardener who is working to improve food security. She is the co-founder of ESHKOL Garden Works, which encourages people to grow their own food in their garden or home. The company sells products from space-saving vertical gardens to hydroponics, which make it possible to grow plants without soil. Most of the products are made using upcycled materials by people living in rural communities. Bhagya and her team run a community centre to teach organic vegetable gardening and provide seed starting and composting. She also delivers programmes in schools and youth clubs to teach young people about the importance of fresh produce, and provides low-income families with the resources needed to grow food at home for a reasonable price. #QueensYoungLeaders
  • 2015 Queen's Young Leader Alicia Wallace on how the Award has amplified her work #QYLLegacy #QueensYoungLeaders
  • Meet Brima. He is an inventor, solving problems in his community through entrepreneurship. Having grown up in a slum in Sierra Leone where there was no access to a stable electricity supply, Brima invented a bicycle-powered generator to provide clean, environmentally-friendly and affordable electricity to power household appliances. His invention benefitted not only his own family, but also his neighbours and the wider community. He recently won an award for inventing a substance made from coconut shells which can absorb carbon monoxide in enclosed areas. While studying at the African Leadership Academy, Brima started a Creativity and Innovation Club to encourage a culture of innovation among young people and to enable them to create practical solutions to problems facing their communities. #QueensYoungLeaders
  • Meet Elizabeth. She uses technology to transform the lives of people living with mental health issues in Uganda. Her inspiration came after witnessing the stigma surrounding mental health in her community, and discovering that many mental health problems went undiagnosed due to a shortage of trained professionals and resources. This led Elizabeth to co-found Clear Yo Mind, which creates secure online platforms for people to express their feelings and access free help from mental health professionals. Clear Yo Mind also offers a text message service, where users can request help, and secure one-to-one appointments with professionals outside of a hospital environment. Elizabeth is currently studying towards a Diploma in Psychology to further support her work. #queensyoungleaders
  • 2017 Queen's Young Leader Rakitha Malewana on the impact the Award has had on his work #QYLLegacy #QueensYoungLeaders
  • Meet Millicent. She uses traditional storytelling to educate and empower young and underprivileged people across Solomon Islands. In a country where only 17% of the population aged 25 to 60 is literate, Millicent set up a project called Kastom Story Time which aims to pass on and preserve national stories and story-telling traditions to younger generations through oral and pictorial techniques. She uses these techniques to educate communities on social and political issues. Her work includes translating political pledges and ideas into information-graphics to ensure that marginalised groups can engage in the electoral process and to shift traditional perspectives on the role of women in leadership and politics. #queensyoungleaders
  • Meet Shadrack. He is a social entrepreneur working to improve the lives of people living in rural communities in Ghana. He is the founder of Cocoa360, which runs a free girls’ school and medical clinic in his community, funded by proceeds from a community cocoa plantation. With 17 paid staff members, 90 students and an annual reach of 2,500 patients, the Cocoa360 model has already benefitted many lives in rural Ghana. In the future, Shadrack would like to train members of the community to become health workers, and provide them with motorbikes to be able to deliver healthcare to patients in remote villages. #queensyoungleaders
  • Meet Caitlin. She is working to establish more opportunities for women and young people, and to help ensure that they grow up in a safe and positive environment. At 19, she founded World Vision’s youth organisation VGen ACT and co-founded the Peshawar School for Peace, which encourages peace-building and provides education and gender-inclusive career opportunities for 300 women and girls. Caitlin has spoken widely to Government and at the United Nations about bullying and ending violence on children, and organised the world’s largest Girls Takeover Program with the Australian Federal Parliament to increase female representation and leadership. As a Plan International Youth Ambassador, she also assisted the Unilever Period Emoji campaign against period stigma which reached 160 million people. In 2016, Caitlin became the CEO of Lake Nite Learning, a social enterprise specialising in upskilling young people to enter employment and become community leaders. Caitlin now wants to develop a free self-defence studio to empower women physically and psychologically through self-defence training and leadership workshops. #queensyoungleaders
  • Meet Jodie. She champions the issue of mental health in her community. She is the creator of The Mind Matters SVG campaign, which aims to teach people aged 10 to 30 about the importance of good mental health. Her work, which has the support of the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Environment, has included giving presentations to young people at three summer programmes and holding art therapy and sports sessions to show how these activities can help to improve people’s mental health. Jodie’s interviews of two local people about their experiences with depression were used by the World Health Organisation on World Health Day as part of its ‘Depression: Let’s Talk’ campaign. She created social media sites to promote the campaign at a local, regional and international level. #queensyoungleaders
  • 2016 Queen's Young Leader Zainab Bibi on how winning the Award has helped her work progress #QYLLegacy #QueensYoungLeaders
  • Meet Haroon. He is dedicated to giving children from underprivileged backgrounds the chance of a good education. He is the founder of Orenda, which teaches children in Pakistan the national curriculum through an engaging digital education model. Its mission is to build a dynamic education model to help young children develop. Originally set up as a safe place for children living in slums, Orenda has since expanded to various regions across the country. Haroon and his team are now teaching around 1,300 children primarily in rural areas of Pakistan, through a specially developed cartoon series, Taleemabad, which is available on mobile phones and cheap computers. Haroon is also encouraging communities and local governments to make improvements to children’s education in their areas. In recognition of the impact of Orenda’s work so far, one local government has invited the organisation to replicate and scale-up its educational model across its district. #queensyoungleaders
  • Meet Mavis. She is a young philanthropist who is committed to helping underprivileged people in her community. She is the founder of the EM Love Foundation, whose work ranges from providing donated food and clothing to low-income families, to hosting fundraisers to children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Mavis now leads a team of seven directors, and has more than 40 volunteers working with her. She and her team have hosted a charity pop-up shop in collaboration with Street Store, a pop-up store that can be created in any community to enable the homeless to shop for free. In recognition of her community work, the First Lady of the Republic of Namibia invited Mavis to serve on her One Economy Foundation, which works to promote inclusivity between different communities, via programmes focused on education, violence and health. #queensyoungleaders
  • 2017 Queen's Young Leader Yunquan Qin on how the Award has aided her work #QYLLegacy #QueensYoungLeaders
  • Meet Harry. He promotes the rights of women and girls through education and advocacy. He is the co-founder of Youth for Change (YFC), which is a global youth led organisation that works in partnership with organisations and governments to tackle gender-based violence and to create positive change. YCF’s main aim is to eradicate early forced marriage (EFM) and female genital mutilation (FGM) in their generation. The organisation works in the UK, Bangladesh, Tanzania and Ethiopia. Youth for Change started a campaign called #traintoprotect which provides a curriculum for teachers to protect girls from FGM and EFM. So far Harry and his team have trained 100 teachers in six schools in London. They also partnered with IKRWO (The Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation) and Not in My Classroom, to hold the first UK Schools’ Conference on ending gender-based violence and to train more than 200 professionals. The team collaborated with the UK Government to host a Global Youth conference called the Girl Summit, where they equipped 400 young people from across the world to campaign on women’s rights. #queensyoungleaders
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Who We Are

The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, in partnership with Comic Relief and The Royal Commonwealth Society, launched The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme in 2014 at Buckingham Palace.  The four-year programme, supported by The University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education, aims to discover, support and celebrate young people from across the Commonwealth.

It will help to transform the lives of young people through awards to individuals who are leaders in their communities and grants to youth-led and focused organisations.