Winners 2018

Closex

Africa Winners Runners Up

Alimatu Bawah Wiabriga

Alimatu is the co-founder of CowTribe, which uses mobile technology to provide animal health services to rural livestock farmers. The platform has helped to link farmers with veterinary services more quickly and easily, via a simple booking app. Farmers can also subscribe for vaccination reminders, outbreak alerts and animal husbandry management advice. The service aims to reduce livestock mortality and increase farm productivity and income. As the only ‘vet on demand’ platform in the country, CowTribe now has more than 25,000 users after just two years of operation. Alimatu has also worked with a radio station to produce several farming programmes. She is involved in various government, NGO and rural development initiatives to improve livestock productivity and food security amongst small-scale farmers in Ghana.

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Derick Omari

Derick 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.

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Shadrack Frimpong

Shadrack 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.

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Douglas Mwangi

Douglas works to reduce illiteracy and poverty in his community in Kenya through education and skills-training. He founded Oasis Mathare, which offers entrepreneurial and IT skills to unemployed young people, including teenage mothers. Douglas now leads a team of five staff and 10 volunteers and has so far helped more than 2,000 teenage mothers, young people and children in the Mathare slum. The centre also has a community library, where students can do their homework, or those who lack the money to attend school can study. There is also an early childhood development space, which allows children to play and, in turn, develop physical and social skills.

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Reekelitsoe Molapo

Reekelitsoe enables and encourages young people in Africa to become entrepreneurs. She is the founder of an initiative called Educate Your Peer Foundation, which encourages African young people studying or working abroad to fund the education of one of their peers back home. Through her own business, Reekelitsoe is also developing an innovation hub where she and her team will help to develop, accelerate and provide seed-funding for start-ups. It aims to address the lack of financing, market access and coaching that causes many young entrepreneurs to fail. In addition, Reekelitsoe works closely with the Lesotho Ministry of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation to raise awareness among young people of the opportunities available to them, and to develop creative solutions to tackling challenges such as unemployment.

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Chikondi Violet Mlozi

Chikondi is finding new ways to improve the lives of women and children within her country. As a district co-ordinator for Youth Net and Counselling in Malawi, she helps to free girls from forced, early marriages, supports victims of abuse and provides women with mentoring opportunities. Chikondi’s work also involves using theatre and road shows to raise awareness about children’s rights. In addition, she co-ordinates an initiative to increase access to healthcare for people living in rural communities and has set up 17 support groups for people living with HIV. In the future, she would like to establish community counselling centres in rural areas to offer support to children who have experienced sexual abuse.

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Pilirani Khoza

Pilirani is working to provide disadvantaged young women in Malawi with an education. After becoming the first woman in her community to attend the University of Malawi, Pilirani founded the Bunda Female Students Organisation (BUFESO) in 2012 to help young women and girls to become involved in the fields of science and agriculture. As well as offering scholarships to those who are unable to afford school fees, BUFESO employs students as interns during academic holidays and trains them on topics such as sustainable agriculture and climate change. Interns are also paired with mentors with agricultural experience. So far, 110 university and secondary school students have been supported by scholarships, 360 women farmers have been trained and six agribusiness projects have been implemented.

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Mavis Elias

Mavis 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.

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Hauwa Ojeifo

Hauwa is dedicated to overcoming the stigma around mental health in Nigeria. She runs a women’s support group called She Writes Women, which focuses on mental health support and outreach among some of the most vulnerable people in the community. Through this organisation, she set up the country’s first 24-hour mental health helpline, which has so far assisted more than 200 women to gain the support they need. Hauwa also operates ‘Safe Places’ – free monthly support groups for women, which include therapy and help from counsellors, coaches and physicians and carries out ‘Hope Visits’ to people in psychiatric hospitals who have not had visitors for a long time.

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Isaac Ezirim

Isaac is a computer programmer who teaches coding to teenagers in low-income areas. He is the founder of Teens Can Code, which is currently training 200 teenagers from the Ajegunle, Alimosho and Ejigbo communities of Lagos about computer coding and how to build web and mobile applications using the same tools that are used by professionals in the tech industry. Isaac also created a Teens Hub, where teenagers from the community can go to learn about coding and create applications together. It hosts monthly demonstration days for teenagers to help them build their entrepreneurial skills: participants are tasked with developing and pitching a tech-based approach they themselves can build to help solve a problem in the community. In addition, Isaac organises a Teens Code Conference for students aged 11-18 to provide an opportunity for people in rural areas to learn how to code. Through the conference and career day events, Isaac and his team have reached more than 3,500 teenagers.

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Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph

Kennedy works to promote women’s rights in Nigeria. He is the founder of the Calabar Youth Council for Women’s Rights (CYCWR), which supports the rights of women in the areas of female genital mutilation (FGM), domestic abuse, forced child marriage and access to education for girls. The CYCWR works with rural community members, to educate them on the dangers of gender-based violence. CYCWR has worked with The Girl Generation to end the practice of FGM in over 200 communities, and has worked with the government to run safe houses for victims of FGM. Kennedy is currently working with the government to introduce anti-FGM laws in his state, and anti-FGM and gender-based violence education into the curriculum of all secondary schools.

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Priscilla Ruzibuka

Priscilla is an entrepreneur who helps women gain employment. She has created Ki-pepeo Kids Clothing project, a children’s clothing line, which employs women from underprivileged communities. Priscilla trains them as tailors and uses the profits from the sales of the clothes to pay fair salaries. Priscilla also offers the women microloans if they need help supporting their families and advises them on how to look after their money. She is a board member of Junior Chamber International (JCI) Rwanda, a membership based organisation that empowers youth in the community in areas such as entrepreneurship and leadership and connects them with mentors and investors.

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Anael Bodwell

Anael teaches young people about their sexual and reproductive health. In 2012 she co-founded Youth Action Movement (YAM) of Seychelles, the first youth group in her country to discuss these issues. The group was recognised by the International Planned Parenthood Federation for the campaign it led to improve access to sexual and reproductive health and rights services for young people, to help girls to understand their rights and for the contribution it made towards national policy on adolescents and reproductive health. In 2015, Anael was elected as a board member of the Seychelles National Youth Council for a two-year term. During this time, she advocated for the opening of youth health clinics in the inner islands. In 2017 she attended the World Economic Forum on Africa to call for the inclusion of young people in the decision-making process on legislations which affects them. Anael is also the co-founder of SYAH Seychelles where she advocates for the sustainable development goals in line with her passion for youth empowerment.

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Brima Manso Bangura

Brima 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.

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Siposetu Sethu Mbuli

Siposetu is developing new ways to end the stigma of albinism in South Africa. Growing up with albinism herself, and mindful of the misconceptions that still exist around it, Siposetu co-founded Love, This Skin. The organisation assists, supports and educates young people with albinism and their families. It currently works with over 100 people, the majority of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and provides them with necessities like sun protection and eye care. As a broadcaster, Siposetu regularly tells her story and encourages other people to share theirs. Love, This Skin runs an online series which, through interviews and conversations, reports on some of the challenges people with albinism have faced. The group also works with organisations like the Western Cape Albinism and Hypo-pigment Foundation to host community initiatives focused on educating the public about albinism and eradicating misconceptions about the condition.

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Thamsanqa Hoza

Thamsanqa is helping young entrepreneurs and innovators to achieve their goals. In 2014, while studying at the Lawhill Maritime Centre, Thamsanqa and a friend developed the ‘Hot Nozzle’, a portable battery-operated shower head which heats up water. As a result, he was recognised by the African Innovation Foundation as one of the top ten young innovators in Africa. He has since co-founded HN Innovate, an organisation which seeks to encourage and inspire young people to explore entrepreneurship. Thamsanqa is also launching a Robotics Science and Technology Programme to help students learn to conceptualise, design and build robot models.

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Alice Ahadi Magaka

Alice educates girls about menstrual hygiene and provides sanitary care provisions for students who cannot afford to buy their own. After discovering many girls were absent from her school due to having their periods, Alice set up The Pink Box Project. The scheme encourages those who can afford to buy sanitary provisions to make donations to those who cannot. At its launch, 100 packs of sanitary towels were donated to women and girls and Alice now runs a monthly collection and distribution service. The scheme also hosts forums to educate girls about menstrual hygiene. Since starting the project, Alice has noted a reduction in the number of girls and young women who are absent at her school. She would now like to expand the scheme to rural areas and to introduce reusable menstrual products to girls living there.

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Isaya Yunge

Isaya uses mobile software to address the needs of African communities. He is the founder and chief executive at SomaApps Technologies which created SomaApp, a mobile app which is revolutionising how scholarships are offered in Africa. Isaya and his team came up with the idea after seeing how many domestic and international scholarships go unclaimed each year because young people are simply unaware of them. The app enables students to enter their academic qualifications and the SomaApp search engine then matches them with scholarships they qualify for. More than 2,000 students are currently using SomaApp daily. Since the beta (test) version was launched in February 2017, 450 scholarships totalling more than $850,000 a year have been won by students in Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.

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Bazil Mwotta Biddemu

Bazil is dedicated to helping farmers in his community thrive. He is the founder of AgroDuuka, which helps farmers in Uganda access information about market prices for produce in their region. It is designed to act as a low-cost SMS platform to connect smallholder rural farmers directly to buyers, before and after their harvest. To date, Bazil and his team have helped more than 800 farmers from 36 villages in Western and Central Uganda to gain a fair price for their produce. AgroDuuka has recently partnered with the Uganda National Farmers Federation, which is enabling almost five million farmers to have access to AgroDuuka.

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Elizabeth Kasujja

Elizabeth 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.

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Stephen Katende

Stephen works to ensure that children in rural areas of Uganda are able to complete their education. He is the founder of Kisoboka Africa, which runs School Community Banks in the rural districts of Lyantonde and Lwengo that allow parents to save, borrow and invest for their children’s education. In addition, Kisoboka Africa equips parents with entrepreneurial and agricultural skills to help start and run their own businesses. The parents are also encouraged to engage with teachers to address any challenges their children are facing at school. Stephen and his team now work with 150 parents in two schools, and have helped over 400 children to acquire an education. The organisation is also starting to operate Young Savers and Investment Clubs in rural primary schools so that children can learn how to save money and boost their leadership skills.

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Gift Chansa

Gift uses his skills as a circus performer to transform the lives of disadvantaged young people in Zambia. After training at Barefeet Theatre, an organisation seeking to engage and educate at-risk youth in the country through theatre, Gift went on to co-found Circus Zambia. The circus company provides participants in the township of Chibolya with circus, academic and life skills. As the artistic director, Gift and his team currently train 80 young people on a weekly basis who perform to more than 5,000 children in the community. By using circus skills, the Circus Zambia members are able to provide information on issues, such as HIV awareness and sanitation. They also organise events such as ‘A Day of Learning’, which encourage young people to develop their own entrepreneurial business ideas.

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Sela Kasepa

Sela explores how science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) can help solve some of the challenges faced by her country. Applying knowledge gained from her own engineering studies, she is the founder and teacher on Zambia’s first robotics development team. Sela has been instrumental in enabling the team’s participation in the 2017 FIRST Global Challenge in the USA, an international robotics competition which aims to inspire young people across the world to engage with STEM. Sela is now working with the Zambian Institute for Sustainable Development to popularise and broaden research into robotics, and to train the next team that will participate in the FIRST Global Challenge. She also hopes to organise local robotics competitions to show young people how to apply innovation to problem-solving.

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Stephen Molatlhegi

Stephen founded Tshwaragano Social Enterprise, a federation for small entrepreneurs from disadvantaged backgrounds and remote areas, who come together to form saving groups and support each other in growing their businesses. The enterprise has a membership of people who learn and share skills that they use to create income-generating projects and explore savings and investment mechanisms. The federation has created a social structure that enables entrepreneurs to inspire and solve their problems together. Stephen also works as a Poverty Eradication Project Officer in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development where he assists people to establish small enterprises to sustain their families.

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Javnyuy Joybert

Javnyuy is the founder of The Centre for Entrepreneurship, Leadership & Business Management Development (CELBMD) Africa, a skills and training development organisation, which offers training programmes to everyone from senior executives to high school graduates. In the past five years, it has helped more than 2,600 young Cameroonians develop the skills they need for their chosen career. It has also enabled 180 young people to start micro-businesses and 300 high school graduates to find jobs. In addition, Javnyuy runs CELBMD Africa Mobile Micro Credit Scheme (CAMMICS), which uses mobile technology to give microloans to women and young people. It has so far given out 305 microloans and has trained 1,500 people in income generating activities.

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Felix Apetorgbor

Felix educates people in his community about the importance of health. Growing up in a rural village, Felix saw that many people were affected by malaria and cholera so he founded the Hospital in the Home Foundation (HIHF) to provide education on first aid and preventive health. Felix and his team educate people through social media, online platforms and personal tuition. HIHF currently has members from three universities in Ghana and works to educate pupils from different schools in the region. The team has also set up a business summit group which provides financial investment and knowledge to people and a skills interest group that equips participants with basic employable skills. Felix also created a library in his community to enable young people to do their homework and set up a book club to inspire people to read.

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Mavis Mainu

Mavis mentors young girls in their education, professional development and entrepreneurship. She is the co-founder of Oak Foundation, which has established Girls Clubs in seven high schools. Each club has a membership of around 250 girls and, together with a group of volunteers, Mavis gives them guidance on their educational needs and she provides counselling. In the last three years the organisation has mentored nearly 1,000 girls. In the future Mavis hopes to provide financial assistance to students who need it. In order to fund the foundation, the team set up a 100 acre farm, which grows maize and cassava and it employs 15 women.

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Priscilla Naa Aklerh Okantey

Priscilla is the founder of ReachOut World Mission which works with children and adults on the streets of rural Ghana to reduce poverty. Priscilla was involved in a car accident and was physically disabled f­or 2 years. She realised how hard it was to make a living and from meeting other young people in similar situations while in hospital, Priscilla had a vision to help young people be self-sustained economically. ReachOut World Mission’s work has impacted over 5,500 youths, adults and children on the streets of Accra and in rural communities in five regions of Ghana through various initiatives. Their aim is to reduce poverty through skills training, access to health care and medication and community feeding programmes.

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Daniel Mutia Mwendwa

Daniel uses education to transform lives. After finishing high school he volunteered as a teacher at secondary schools in his community, inspiring students to achieve their best. He has also taught football and handball and has witnessed the effect sport can have on bringing communities together. After serving as the President of the Kenya Children’s Assembly, where he raised awareness of child abuse and neglect, early marriages and female genital mutilation, Daniel went on to become the organisation’s child development facilitator, a role that has allowed him to support other young leaders. He also leads a group called Voices of Change which visits local schools to provide mentoring for children.

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Dorcas Owinoh

Dorcas works to improve access to technology. She is the director of LakeHub Foundation, which encourages entrepreneurship and social innovation by offering young developers, entrepreneurs and innovators a place to meet, network, share ideas to find solutions to societal challenges. Dorcas and her team also offer technology training, business and coding competitions and mentorship programmes. She runs a project called Village Code, which teaches children aged nine to 19 in village schools problem solving, computer programming and entrepreneurial skills. So far 150 girls, working in teams, have built 11 mobile apps to provide solutions to problems around health, equality, education, gender and the environment.

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Evans Kiragu

Evans combines his passion of computer games with teaching young people about their political responsibilities. After teaching himself how to develop video games, Evans set up his own technology company, Mekan Games. As elections in Kenya approached he decided to build a video game that would teach young people about civic education. The game, which was called Knockout 2017, featured hundreds of peace messages and a section to learn what to look for in a leader. So far more than 2,500 young people have played the game and Evans and his team are now developing Knockout 2018, to start teaching civic education ahead of the next elections.

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Michael Murigi

Having grown up in a rural community often plagued by drought, Michael set up a community initiative called Focuswise on Cassava Initiative, to promote producing the root vegetable cassava as an alternative food source. He introduced improved varieties of the hardy crop, which are faster-maturing and more resistant to disease. Michael and his team now operate a demonstration farm, which is used to breed cassava planting materials and has so far trained almost 30,000 farmers and distributed 48 tonnes of cassava cuttings to 12,750 farmers. They have also established a small factory for farmers to mill the cassava. In addition, Michael hosts outreach meetings to educate new farmers about the benefits of cassava farming.

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Phenny Omondi

Phenny is currently studying agronomic engineering at university, and is working to help small-scale farmers in Kenya develop their technical farming skills. She founded DOPHIA Group in 2012, a social enterprise which trains farmers in Western Kenya in sustainable farming practices and financial literacy. Along with her team, she currently works with a network of 200 farmers, 60% of whom are women. DOPHIA also created the Akonya Women Group to provide help to women to run the financial side of their farming businesses. The group provides loans to increase access to capital and encourage further growth.

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Hastings Nhlane

Hastings is dedicated to ensuring more agricultural job opportunities for young people. He is the founder of the Associated Centre for Agro-based Development and Entrepreneurship Support (ACADES). The group was set up in 2013 as a youth agribusiness club in Lilongwe district, and has since grown to become the largest association of young farmers in Malawi. The association aims to provide a platform where young people in rural areas can be challenged to be more engaged in agribusiness. It has 171 clubs in four districts, where 75% of members are aged 18 to 30. Each member produces crops including maize, soya, beans and vegetables. The products are then processed, packaged and branded by ACADES, before being supplied to major retail outlets. The initiative has so far created 4,617 jobs.

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Emilia Shikeenga

Emilia is inspired by technology and works to include more women in the sector. She is the co-founder and vice-chairperson of Namibia Women in Computing Society and ACM Woman in Computing Windhoek Chapter. Through these organisations she has hosted the Women in Computing conference in Namibia in 2016 and 2017, which brought together women and girls with an interest in the computing field. As well as sharing her own experiences of a female working in computing at the conference, Emilia offered free coding sessions to around 100 women. In addition, Emilia and her colleagues organised a gender based violence (GBV) hackathon, where participants came up with solutions to try to curb GBV in their communities.

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Helena Kandjumbwa

Helena works to ensure that children from impoverished backgrounds have access to quality education. She is the founder of Upliftment Projects Namibia, which reconstructs makeshift schools in rural areas in order to provide safe and stimulating environments for children to learn in. She came up with the idea after volunteering for Hope Initiatives Southern Africa, a community-based organisation which assists communities living in the informal settlements in Windhoek, to teach orphans and vulnerable children for more than four years. Helena is also president of the Model United Nations – University of Namibia Club, an educational extra-curricular activity in which students simulate world leaders and discuss international issues.

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Abayomi Akanji

Abayomi is using his IT skills to improve access to education for young people in Nigeria. A trained computer programmer, he founded the Pass.ng platform after discovering that there was a 70% failure rate for students sitting the national university entrance exams. Most students lacked access to the standard learning materials needed to prepare for the exams. Pass.ng is now available as a mobile app or desktop programme to help students learn, practise and be ready for these exams. To date, it has helped over 300,000 students pass their exams first time round. Abayomi has also created an app called HiClass which allows students to share their academic challenges and receive feedback from other scholars. Currently, more than 45 scholars in Nigeria and the United States are using the platform to teach over 2,000 students.

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Aisha Waziri

Aisha promotes the rights of women and girls in her community. Since 2013 she has taught girls English, sexual and reproductive health rights and life-skills. Her aim is to help girls who have left school early to return to their education and prevent early marriages. She started a mentoring project to support girls in school to make informed decisions about their futures and train girls who are out of school in handiwork skills, helping them to become independent. Aisha also worked on a project called Community Led Advocacy to End Child Marriage, which engaged religious leaders on the issue, informed communities and supported young peoples’ involvement in the discussion.

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Anesi Ikhianosime

Anesi is working to make the Internet more accessible to people in Africa. From a young age, he was aware of the Internet’s educational potential, but was often left frustrated by slow web browsers, which made accessing information required for his schoolwork expensive. As a result, Anesi and his brother spent eight months using their coding skills to create their own online search engine called Crocodile Browser. Their browser, which is downloaded as an app, prioritises which content to load first, enabling it to operate faster. Currently, users spend about 30 minutes on the browser each day, during which time there are an average of around 170,000 downloads. Since its launch in 2015, about 1.9 million pages have been viewed through Crocodile Browser. It is estimated that it saves users 10,000 minutes and over 3TB of data use every year.

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Angela Samaila

Angela supports women in her community to become financially stable and independent through microfinance. She founded a co-operative called The Busy Bee, which provides women with small loans to start-up a business. Angela works with them and helps them to save a small amount of their profit each day, which can be invested back into buying materials for their trade. She has recently completed her year of national youth service, during which she taught English to children living in remote areas and educated the public about health issues such as breast cancer and HIV/AIDS, and social issues such as child marriages.

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Inioluwa Adesiyan

Inioluwa works to promote equal opportunities for girls. She is the co-founder of Young Girls’ Empowerment and Development Initiative, an organisation which visits girls in primary schools to provide them with the skills and support structures to become positive role models in their communities. The project aims to hone their ability to participate effectively in the classroom, take up leadership positions and excel in sports and science. The Initiative provides a one-week training programme during which girls learn about the importance of education, leadership and teamwork, personal health and hygiene and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. After each training programme, students who excel are rewarded and provided with mentoring to further help their development.

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Mohammed Alhaji Mohammed

Mohammed has a keen interest in maternal and child health. After gaining a master of public health degree, he worked at the development Research and Projects Centre as a communications and learning officer. As part of his role he worked on the ‘Saving Lives at Birth’ project, which aimed to change some of the child health practices among women living in rural areas of Northern Nigeria and encourage communities to accept childhood immunisations. He is currently working towards his PhD in public health.

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Oluwatosin Adedoyin

Oluwatosin provides educational support to young people in her community. She is the founder of Olatayo Educates, a social enterprise which helps public secondary school students learn vital life skills and improve their reading and writing. Since it was set up in 2016, Olatayo Educates has provided after-school classes to over 2,000 students in five schools across the city. Oluwatosin and her team organised a Quality Education Conference to discuss problems in the education sector and how they can be solved. Oluwatosin would now like to support secondary school students to gain vocational and enterprise skills before graduating.

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Princewill Onyekah

Princewill is striving to make environmental changes in Nigeria. Together with a group of friends, he co-founded Carryam.ng, a social enterprise working to eradicate the use of plastic bags in the country. After seeing the effect that plastic waste disposal was having in Nigeria, Princewill and his team began producing bags made from biodegradable products. They also carry out workshops to teach people about the benefits of using biodegradable bags instead of plastic and to increase environmental awareness. In the future, Princewill would like the Carryam.ng eco-friendly bags to be available free of charge to all Nigerians.

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Alex Nallo Jr

Alex founded the Institute of Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Development (iLEAD), a training centre and mobile education community initiative which is committed to building and supporting the next generation of leaders. Alex and his team train and mentor young people to provide community-centred solutions to emerging and existing problems they come across. Alex also hosts a radio show to motivate and inspire young people in Sierra Leone, which has more than 5,000 listeners. He is currently fundraising to build a leadership school in his community, which will offer after-school activities and leadership training for children and young leaders.

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Andrew Dauda

Andrew is a social worker and provides education for vulnerable children. He is the co–founder of the Children Assurance Programmes – Sierra Leone (CAP–SL), which addresses child protection, education and gender equality. The organisation provides scholarships to children from deprived homes and supports teenage mothers with their education. Andrew mentors and teaches young people in his community, including 15 Ebola survivors. Through drama, group activities and mentoring, he raises awareness of sexual and gender-based violence in his community. He has so far trained 42 volunteers and engaged with 14 schools to teach young people about the issue and to explain where people can access help if needed.

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Shivad Singh

Shivad believes in the power of education to change lives. While at university, he set up Presto Academy, which allows the top performing students in South Africa to create educational material for others. The content is available through study guides and online and currently includes four university and eight high school titles. Presto Academy also operates a ‘one for one’ model, so for every book sold it donates another to a learner in an underprivileged school. To date, it has sold more than 2,000 copies of its university guides and provides free content to 100,000 students via the Rishi-fi wifi platform. Shivad also partnered with cellular provider Vodacom, to offer the content at discount to its customers and has negotiated agreements to supply books to the country’s leading bookstores.

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Gcina Petros Dlamini

Gcina supports young entrepreneurs working in agriculture. At university Gcina, with fellow students, founded a company called Smiling Through Investments (STIN), which specialises in seed production. In March 2015, they hosted the first national agribusiness fair and school festival. The three-day event showed how agriculture can be a sustainable business model. Agriculture students were shown how they can work with farmers to address some of the challenges faced in the industry and how food security can be improved in Swaziland. In 2017 Gcina started Ignite Young Professionals Network, which aims to help young professionals establish themselves in the marketplace by connecting them through monthly forums and group meet-ups.

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Elia Timotheo

Elia is the founder of East Africa Fruits Co. which combines cold chain logistics and industrial scale solar drying to extend the shelf life of produce in rural Tanzania. Growing up, Elia watched his uncle struggling to make a living out of a small banana farm. This experience inspired Elia to look in to the issues farmers faced in his local community. In a country where 6 out of 10 people rely on farming for their livelihood, he identified that more than half of produce was not making it to market, causing mass food wastage and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Since founding East Africa Fruits Co., he has constructed a process and distribution facility, has acquired refrigerated trucks to ship and distribute produce and has been working with farmers to reduce waste and increase their income.

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Hildah Chipo Mutale

Hildah works to encourage girls to achieve their potential. After winning an essay writing competition where she wrote about how she would help young girls in her community, Hildah was selected as a DREAMS Ambassador to work with partner organisations to mentor young girls. She works with Peace Corps volunteers to train girls through DREAMS Glow Camps and school clubs. Her work includes teaching participants about their sexual reproductive rights, how to manage their emotions and communication skills. She also hosts training workshops where she teaches baking, hairdressing and jewellery making, which are skills that could be used to provide income in the future. In addition, Hildah has launched a social media campaign called ‘I am Zambian, I am Woman, I am Human’, which aims to motivate girls to achieve their goals.

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Asia Winners Runners Up

Ayman Sadiq

Ayman is improving access to education for young people throughout Bangladesh. He is the founder of 10 Minute School, a free online educational platform providing interactive videos, live classes, quizzes and smart books to students. The school is run by Ayman and a team of 52 others, most of whom are students themselves. With over 40 million active users across all its channels, 10 Minute School is the largest free-learning platform of its kind in Bangladesh. It allows people to study a range of academic subjects and also teaches presentation and interview skills. In partnership with the country’s ICT Division and the telecom operator Robi, 18,000 schools are now using 10 Minute School’s resources to teach their students.

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Zaiba Tahyya

Zaiba works to promote equality in society and reduce violence against women in Bangladesh. With a degree in criminology, her experience as a researcher in the police force gave her unique insights into the problems of mobility and vulnerability among women in low-income areas of the country. Since being selected as a Global Shaper 2017-2018 by the World Economic Forum, Zaiba has been able to deliver a number of projects in Dhaka including one on anti-harassment, which uses paintings on the sides of buses to raise awareness of the issue. She has also collaborated with a local legal firm to create a self-defence project for women, and partnered with a youth-based organisation to teach women how to ride bicycles, to increase their independence. Every five weeks, 40 girls receive self-defence and cycling training.

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Ahmad Fadillah Sellahhuddin

Ahmad works to support underprivileged families in his community. He co-founded Projek Bina Ukhwah, a youth movement that aims to create safer and more hygienic living conditions for people in need. In its first eight months, the group raised more than B$35,000, distributed $6,000 worth of food packs, and built houses for two families living in poor conditions. In addition, the organisation runs a Family Empowerment and Economic Development Programme which mentors families and provides them with funding to start their own small businesses. Ahmad has also been a member of the Brunei Darussalam AIDS Council for 14 years, where he raises awareness of HIV/AIDS through education.

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Aditya Kulkarni

Aditya is developing mobile health solutions to help reduce maternal and child mortality in areas with limited health resources. He is the co-creator of CareMother, a mobile and online platform that connects health workers to gynaecologists and empowers them to carry out regular doorstep antenatal check-ups to pregnant women in any setting. The app enables women to monitor their pregnancy, health workers to early identify any potential or emerging high-risk complications and gynaecologists to schedule timely interventions or follow ups. Within the last two years Aditya and his team have worked with more than 15 organisations and provided affordable care to more than 30,000 pregnant women in over 800 villages in India, Bangladesh and Kenya. CareMother has also created more than 100 jobs for health workers and has led to significant improvements in how antenatal care is delivered at a grassroots level.

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Deane De Menezes

Deane is determined to tackle the stigma around menstruation in India. She is the founder of Red is the new Green, a project which aims to end the embarrassment felt by women and girls about their periods, while providing eco-friendly solutions to tackling sanitary waste. In 2016, Deane started a pilot scheme at a school in Mumbai, which installed low-cost sanitary towel vending machines and incinerators on campus and delivered awareness-raising sessions to students. As a result of its success, both in reducing female absenteeism caused by menstruation and improving the disposal of related waste, the project has now been extended to 11 schools and has reached over 15,000 women and girls. Deane has introduced the project to hospitals, colleges and self-help groups in her aim to take her work and message to all sections of society, regardless of age, gender or income.

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Trisha Shetty

Trisha works to promote gender equality. She is the founder of SheSays, a youth-led organisation that aims to end sexual violence and improve education, healthcare and sanitation, and inform public policy. As part of their work, Trisha and her team of 20 provide resources for women, including access to legal, medical and psychological support, to enable them to take direct action against sexual abuse. To help combat child sexual abuse, Trisha also initiated the Agents of Change youth programme, which trains young people on crisis intervention, teaches them about gender based violence and equips them with skills to support their peers. She works with schools, colleges and workplaces to encourage them to listen to the views of young people about their policies. Since its inception in 2015, SheSays has worked with more than 150,000 people.

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Siva Nagappan Visvesvaran

Siva develops new solutions to existing environmental problems. He has developed numerous innovations to improve everyday recycling including the Linear Water Storage system for his school, which enables rainwater to be stored in a fraction of the space usually required. Siva is currently studying electrical power engineering, and hopes it will allow him to deliver more sustainable and affordable sources of energy to developing countries. In addition, he is the co-founder of a social enterprise called Project Paplet. The organisation set up a ‘Reuse Initiative’ which takes paper already used on one side and turns it into booklets. The booklets are donated to 50 refugee schools throughout Malaysia through the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. The group also provides toolkits to 11 other institutions globally explaining how to make the booklets and to empower people to create new products out of everyday rubbish. Since its launch in 2016, it has saved around 4.5 tonnes of paper.

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Wen Shin Chia

Wen is an environmentalist who uses innovation and entrepreneurship to tackle pollution in her country. In 2016 she founded Green Yards, which deters people from disposing of household oil down drains by offering them free soap in exchange for every 5kg of oil returned to them. This oil, which pollutes the water supplies, is instead recycled into eco-cleaning products and candles. In addition, Wen and her team organise community workshops to promote recycling. In just one year, Green Yards has prevented 4.7 tonnes of used cooking oil from being dumped.

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Haroon Yasin

Haroon 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.

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Hassan Mujtaba Zaidi

Hassan uses art to help educate marginalised young people in Pakistan. He is the founder of Discovering New Artists (DNA), which provides free art education, and primary and secondary education, to students unable to afford school fees. DNA raises money to fund school projects through its initiative, Art for Change, a national child art competition which aims to forge links between young people in privileged and underprivileged communities. Students who can afford to, pay a registration fee to participate in the competition. Their fees are then used to enable a child from a marginalised background to enter for free. Further proceeds from the competition are used to fund other educational projects run by DNA. To date, 11,500 students have participated in the competition and over 5,000 students have benefitted from donations of art materials. Through DNA, Hassan also supports the construction of libraries in under-resourced schools, and funds various college and university student internship and volunteer programmes.

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Mahnoor Syed

Mahnoor supports underprivileged people in her community. Her start-up Spread the Word began by partnering with seven schools to provide extra-curricular workshops to students on issues such as bullying, child abuse, mental and physical health. It now has 300 volunteers from all over Pakistan. Mahnoor has also collected money and books to secure the creation of two libraries in Lahore, and has raised funds to sponsor the education of 24 children from disadvantaged backgrounds who attend one of her partner schools. In addition, she has partnered with an organisation called Khwajasira Support to fundraise for the vocational training of 50 transgender people. At the same time, she has worked with the Barkat Foundation to arrange health camps run by doctors in 15 deprived areas.

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Tian Sern Oon

Tian is using technology to help people access mental health support. He is the founder of Acceset, an online platform for people to discuss mental health issues and seek help anonymously. Tian previously spent three years on the management committee of Audible Hearts, an online peer support mental health network. During his time with Audible Hearts, Tian and his team worked alongside professional counsellors and trained volunteers to offer support to young people who were not yet ready to seek professional help. Tian is now working to compile a directory of social service organisations in Singapore, to make it easier for those in need to find the right professional help.

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Yi Jun Mock

Yi Jun is giving young people the help and encouragement they need to pursue their ambitions in vocational areas of work. He co-founded Advisory, an online initiative aimed at providing young Singaporeans with the opportunity to learn about different career options. The service provides users with access to resources, and interviews with professionals from a range of sectors to help them plan their future careers. Yi Jun also served on the National Youth Council’s Young ChangeMakers (YCM) Grant Panel, to assess and mentor youth teams applying for funding for community improvement projects. While working with YCM, he acted as leader of Project Keep-In-Touch, which focused on building awareness of urban poverty in Singapore. Together with his team, they raised $52,000 in 16 weeks, which went towards projects to help people living in disadvantaged areas. Yi Jun also serves as Project Leader (Networks) of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network – Youth, where he works to engage youth globally with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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Bhagya Wijayawardane

Bhagya 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.

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Devanshi Rathi

Devanshi is using her love of chess to empower, educate and alleviate the hardships faced by local children in India. In 2016, she founded Project Checkmate to teach chess to underprivileged young people in her community. The project has since expanded and currently trains 40 students. Devanshi now also teaches the game to blind students, and runs mentoring sessions to help provide her young chess players with basic life skills. Devanshi hosts regular matches, quizzes, lectures and camps for participants, including accompanying them to local, state and national chess events. She has authored two books on how to play chess, which have also been translated into braille. Devanshi hopes to expand Project Checkmate to new regions, and diversify its work beyond chess by recruiting volunteers who can offer training in other areas.

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Piyush Ghosh

Piyush uses storytelling to encourage positive actions in her community. In 2014 Piyush founded The Optimist Citizen, a newspaper which publishes positive news stories from around the world. Its aim is to promote the best of humankind, even in difficult situations. Having started out with just a small team, The Optimist Citizen now has a community of more than 250 young people and has a total monthly readership of approximately 4,000 people throughout 20 cities in India. The paper’s stories range from those about unsung heroes and good governance to acts of courage. Piyush would like the ‘positive news’ concept to be implemented across the Commonwealth by engaging young people in each country to report on their local positive stories.

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Roshan Kokane

Roshan is working to educate young people about gender rights and sexual and mental health through digital campaigns. He uses his skills as a journalist and photographer to help organisations working in the field to reach young people and raise awareness of their projects in India. He has hosted two sexual health conferences in India, which were attended by over 5,000 young people. He regularly holds open mic nights, film screenings and discussions on various sexual and mental health topics. Roshan is in the process of setting up the project ‘It Helps’, a digital platform where young people can talk openly and seek advice about mental health and sexual health. In the future, he would like to help the LGBTQI+ community in India to access healthcare and education more easily.

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Saima Khan

Saima helps transform young people’s lives by working with them to find creative solutions to challenges they face. She is the founder of Step Up, which provides a platform for young people around the world to work together to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The group organises activities such as tree planting, recycling drives, beach clean-ups, and events for adults and children with special needs. Saima is also the brand ambassador for the Protect Your Mom Campaign, which has encouraged over 90 schools from around the world to run breast cancer awareness campaigns. In addition, she launched the Thirst Relief project with PennyAppeal in the United Kingdom to build wells in countries including Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

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Sharad Vivek Sagar

Sharad is working to equip the next generation with educational opportunities. Growing up in a remote part of India where there was a lack of schools, Sharad was home-schooled until the age of 12.  His mother moved to the city for his education and he secured scholarships to continue his education at a higher level. He was able to get an education most people from his background were not fortunate to receive. Sharad set up Dexterity Global to help people from similar backgrounds as him. Dexterity Global has four major platforms; DexConnect connects low income students to educational opportunities, DexChallenges helps hone their skill sets, DexSchool of Leadership and Entrepreneurship is a summer school which mentor’s children and youth to become global leaders, and Dex2College helps young people with the transition to college through boot camps.  Sharad and his company are on a mission to connect even the remotest child with the best opportunities.

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Felicia Yoon

Felicia is broadening access to education for young people across Malaysia. A teacher by profession, she co-founded the Arus Academy after discovering that many students living in rural areas or from low socio-economic backgrounds did not feel education was relevant to them. Set up as a social enterprise, the academy offers a free after-school learning centre that teaches students how to actively address problems in society by building and creating their own physical and digital solutions. To date, Arus Academy has helped 1,200 students, trained 360 teachers and written 10 modules for the Ministry of Education. Felicia and her team are now working to develop and pilot an integrated secondary school curriculum for state schools across Malaysia.

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Nigel Boon Wei Sim

Nigel is a teacher who encourages students to use technology and engineering to find solutions to real-life problems. Having introduced the idea into a school he was working at, as part of the Teach for Malaysia programme, he went on to co-found Chumbaka. The organisation teaches students from five schools on a weekly basis about technology and prepares them for innovation competitions. They have so far worked with more than 100 students and 50 teachers. One team of students took part in the #mydigitalmaker Global Exchange, organised by the Malaysia Digital Economy Cooperation, and won tickets to an event in Silicon Valley in the USA.

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Junyong Wang

Junyong helps vulnerable members of society achieve their full potential through arts-based training. After struggling at school with undiagnosed dyslexia, Junyong discovered the positive impact of Taiko drumming, a Japanese art form. Junyong went on to found Mangrove Learning, a social enterprise that runs an alternative arts programme to help engage and transform the lives of vulnerable young people by teaching them drumming skills. Mangrove Learning also created the first ‘Eco-Taiko’ drum out of recycled materials, making Taiko drumming affordable for all. Having found out how it can benefit young people, Junyong is working on a research project to measure the impact of Taiko drumming on people living with dementia.

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Manas Punhani

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Navodinee Wickramanayake

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Caribbean and Americas Winners Runners Up

Ronelle King

Ronelle is committed to helping end violence against women in the Caribbean. She was the initiator of the social media movement #lifeinleggings, an online hashtag that aims to dispel the myth that only certain types of women who dress in a particular way are harassed. It soon went viral. Through it, women around the world were encouraged to speak out online about their experiences of harassment. Following this success, Ronelle formed the grassroots organisation Life In Leggings: Caribbean Alliance Against Gender-based Violence Through Education, Empowerment and Community Outreach. She also organised the Reclaim Our Streets: Women’s Solidarity March which took place in Barbados and six other Caribbean countries, in order to raise awareness about sexual abuse and how to prevent it.

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Aditya Mohan

Aditya is a scientist looking for new ways to fight cancer. His interest in medicine began when he was a child. By the age of 15, he had already begun to study cellular interactions in chronic diseases such as HIV. Aditya then transferred to cancer research, specifically seeking to understand whether the manipulation of viruses like the common cold could be used to target tumours and whether the body’s immune system can be trained to recognise and kill cancer cells. He is now conducting pre-clinical trials in research labs to explore this. Aditya is also the co-founder and co-president of Project Pulse Spark, an annual healthcare conference in Ottawa, which attracts over 1,000 high school and university students. Aditya and his team use the conference to inspire students to pursue careers in the medical industry.

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Ishita Aggarwal

Ishita is improving the lives of marginalised and impoverished women in Canada. She is the founder of Mom’s The Word (MTW), a non-profit organisation that hosts free prenatal workshops for pregnant women who have a low income or who are homeless, to fight ill-health, illiteracy, maternal poverty and infant morbidity. Doctors and counsellors refer participants to MTW, and women who complete the programme receive food stamps, milk coupons, bus tokens and/or prenatal vitamins in return. Since its inception in 2016, MTW has raised $100,000 and hosted more than 60 workshops for 750 women. Staff also run monthly Safe Sex Talks, which have reached more than 93,000 people. In addition, Ishita and her team have launched Pro-Bono Healers (PBH), a service which links sexual abuse and rape victims with obstetrician-gynaecologists and therapists. To date, PBH has helped over 215 girls and women access services including HIV and sexually transmitted disease testing, birth control and counselling.

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Midia Shikh Hassan

Midia works to support the educational and healthcare needs of refugees worldwide. After moving to Canada, she set up The Refugee Outreach Programme in Ottawa, which aims to encourage entrepreneurialism within the refugee community. She has also established a social venture called Dextra, which uses 3D printing to provide upper body prosthetics to refugees in refugee camps. By using this technique, she and her team are able to produce the limbs for $20, rather than the usual cost of $2,000 to $20,000. In addition, Midia has started a programme at the University of Ottawa to help students identify social issues in the community and create solutions for them. More than 300 students have accessed the programme.

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Lakeyia Joseph

From an early age, Lakeyia has stood up in support of young people and gender equality in Dominica. While still at school, she established a charity called Golden Opportunities which donates clothes, shoes and school supplies to children from low-income families. To date, the organisation has distributed over $10,000 worth of supplies to children and young adults. Lakeyia is now working to establish the Golden Empowerment Foundation, which seeks to motivate young people through education, sport and training, and promote greater understanding of gender equality. In 2017, the High Commissioner of Canada in Barbados named her Dominica’s Youth Champion and Ambassador for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality.

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Jenella Edwards

Jenella is dedicated to helping young people in Grenada achieve their full potential. Being aware of the difficulties faced by young people to further their education, Jenella founded the HEON (Help Educate Our Nation) Project in 2015 to provide disadvantaged students with full scholarships to attend either college or a recognised skills centre. The project raises funds by hosting an annual dinner, and by selling promotional items such as t-shirts, bags and stickers as well as sourcing sponsorship from local businesses. Before establishing the HEON Project, Jenella was the President of the River Sallee Youth Alliance, which aims to foster a strong community spirit through after-school programmes, activity weeks and clean-up campaigns. Jenella is now expanding the HEON Project to attract more supporters and help even more students to receive a quality education.

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Marva Langevine

Marva is transforming the lives of bereaved, sick and underprivileged children and families in Guyana. She is the founder of the Guyana Golden Lives Organization, which she has used to open up a national conversation about the loss of a loved one in childhood. The organisation provides financial and psycho-social support services for bereaved children, job opportunities for widows, and food hampers and building materials for low income families. In the future, Marva hopes to hold ‘grief in the classroom’ workshops for teachers and community outreach initiatives on bereavement. Marva has also created Camp Golden, a camp for bereaved young people, which provides counselling, food, shelter and educational opportunities. In addition, Marva is a founding member of Den-Amstel Dynamic Network, a youth group focused on restoring the cultural art forms for which her home village of Den-Amstel was once famous.

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Aubrey Stewart

Aubrey supports and motivates young people to bring about positive changes to their lives and those of others. He is the founder of the Youth Organisation for Upliftment, which provides a space where young people can come together and make a difference in their community. Since its establishment in 2009, the organisation has run a number of campaigns, including The Crime Out Campaign, a youth-led peace movement which inspired young people to speak out against violence. In his current role as country co-ordinator for the RuJohn Foundation in Jamaica, Aubrey helps provide underprivileged schools and students with resources such as computers, school lunches and sporting equipment. It also arranges yearly activities like celebrity sports camps and acting workshops. In addition, Aubrey serves as chairman for the Youth Advisory Council of Jamaica, which represents young people in policy making and he is a Jamaica House Fellow where he works with senior officials at the Office of the Prime Minister to contribute to national development.

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Jodie Dennie

Jodie 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.

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Benedict Bryan

Benedict is dedicated to improving social equality in his country. He is the founder of the Humanitarian Association of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (HARTT), which focuses on providing humanitarian assistance to refugees. Its programmes have included an initiative which taught refugees English and extra-curricular activities to help them integrate into their new culture. Benedict also sits on the committee for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in Trinidad and Tobago. Currently, he is working alongside other young people throughout the Caribbean to launch a Youth Peace and Security Think Tank, the aim of which is to promote peace and security for all, especially for those from minority backgrounds.

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Jean-Claude Cournand

Jean-Claude founded the 2 Cents Movement, which uses spoken-word poetry to raise awareness of social issues and to encourage young people to address them. Jean-Claude and his team, which includes 12 young people and 10 poets, has led workshops and performances at more than 70 secondary schools and 30 primary schools. In 2017, the team’s focus was on gender-based violence, so Jean-Claude partnered with the University of the West Indies Institute for Gender and Development Studies to train poets on the issues, before they took their messages into schools. The group has also hosted two annual national spoken-word events in which 25 secondary and 17 primary schools participated. Each year more than 40,000 young people in Trinidad and Tobago engage with the programme.

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Gabrielle Davida Gay

 

Gabrielle believes in the importance of encouraging children to read from a young age. She is the creator of The Gabrielle Gay Trophy for Excellence in Reading, a rewards-based reading and literacy mentorship programme which has been in operation for 13 years. The project, the only one of its kind in Barbados, currently runs in 58 of the country’s 68 primary schools. As part of her work, Gabrielle hosts sessions where children are encouraged to read via motivating and interactive reading and story-time sessions. Parents are also given take-home advice on how to assist their children’s reading. The programme runs a ‘Reading Made Fun’ mentorship programme, with summer camps across Barbados and reading competitions in schools. Gabrielle also liaises with businesses and charities to provide mentorship sessions, books and academic materials for primary schools and libraries. The programme also rewards primary school children annually at their schools’ Graduations with a Trophy for Excellence in Reading. This trophy rewards the Highest Achieving Reader or the Most Improved Reader of that particular graduating class.

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Justin Rice

Justin helps prisoners to reintegrate into society. He is a member of Open Doors, an organisation which goes into prisons to advise/guide/encourage people about how they can turn their lives around. His work has included leading a weekend retreat for young men, where participants were encouraged to consider their past behaviour and identify their strengths, helping them to move forward. Justin has plans to run an Open Doors project to provide after-care for people who are released from prison but still require support to reintegrate back into the community.

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Nikola Simpson

Nikola raises awareness about environmental conservation in Barbados. She works with Slow Food Barbados, an organisation that promotes the reduction of imported food in order to support local farmers, fishermen, chefs and small-scale producers. She teaches primary and secondary school children how to grow their own crops sustainably and without the use of chemicals. Alongside this she runs sessions about fisheries in Barbados, promoting and supporting responsible and sustainable fishing practices on the island. Nikola also volunteers with the Plastic Oceans Trust, educating people on the threat of plastic pollution, primarily in oceans, and encouraging them to reduce the amount of plastic they use as well as providing alternatives to plastic.

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Alicia Raimundo

Alicia is working to empower young people to overcome mental health stigma and to create treatments that are accessible and fun. Inspired by her own struggles with mental illness, Alicia has been involved in a variety of projects. Alicia is the co-chair of the ACCESS Open Minds Youth Advisory Committee and the Youth Action community centre for Children and Youth in Challenging Contexts. She has shared her story on numerous stages including at the United Nations, the Federal Standing Committee on the Status of Women, TEDXWaterloo and One Young World. Alicia has also written a book for schools to educate young people on suicide.

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Ashley Rose Murphy

Ashley educates people about HIV. She was born with the virus and from an early age spoke publicly about it to members of the medical community and on television. She founded an organisation called OutLoud on HIV, which works with universities in seven countries to reduce the stigma of HIV. She also volunteers as an Ambassador for Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation and Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research to encourage HIV testing, prevention and advocating for adherence to treatment if positive. At the age of 16 she started speaking at WE Day, an organisation that celebrates young people making a difference in their local and global communities, educating young people about HIV and encouraging them to accept their differences.

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Ashley Whiteman

Ashley works to ensure that the voice of young people is heard in the decision-making process at a political level. She is a member of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council and organises community events at schools, youth groups and organisations that profile issues important to young people in her province. She is part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters National Youth Advisory Group and also provides one-to-one mentoring to disadvantaged young people who are part of the programme. She has also worked with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to improve the quality of life for members of the Indigenous community.

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Jayson Derow

Jayson is committed to building peace and security among young people. After serving in the military, he went on to co-found the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association of Canada (YATA Canada), which educates and promotes co-operation among young people in NATO Allied and Partner states. As the organisation’s president, Jayson works with students and young professionals to build the next generation of policy leaders, through creating volunteering opportunities, encouraging open dialogue through forums and debates and by developing leadership skills. In the future, he would like to host a model NATO conference to bring together young professionals, graduate students, scholars and professionals to recognise the current realities of conflict and to effectively reinforce the transatlantic link.

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Joshua Miller

Joshua raises awareness of mental health. After training in peer-support facilitation and suicide intervention, Joshua became a youth engagement facilitator at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)’s McCain Centre for Child, Youth and Family Mental Health. He has also served as a youth facilitator at the Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario Initiative, during which he held discussions with young people and their families in Ontario about how the services available to them can be improved. In addition, Joshua is a youth expert on a national study which is being carried out to improve the transition process from child and adolescent mental health services to adult services. He is also the co-facilitator of CAMH’s National Youth Advisory Committee, where he leads a network of young volunteers who want to see improvements to the Canadian mental health system.

 

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Melissa Fairey

Melissa is passionate about gender equality, sexual and reproductive health rights and community development. She created and founded the York Region Youth Sexual Health Network and their Youth Sexual Health Empowerment project. The project addressed the gap of access to resources in the York Region where there are large rural, isolated and indigenous communities. The project has provided access to free and inclusive sexual health resources where it did not previously exist to young people in her community. She has worked on projects for the United Nations and International Youth Action for Family Planning. Melissa was selected as the only Canadian Young Leader Fellow in Women Deliver’s 2015-2018 class and also serves as a World Contraception Day Ambassador. In 2015 the Governor General of Canada gave her a ‘Caring Canadian Award’ and a year later she received the Volunteer Medal.

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Glenroy Murray

Glenroy promotes the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, women and young people. After training in law, he became the Policy and Advocacy Manager of J-FLAG, a human rights organisation which serves the needs of LGBTQ+ people in Jamaica. In his role he raises awareness among members of the LGBTQ+ community about their rights, speaks to political leaders about the challenges and triumphs of the LGBTQ+ community and engages the public on the importance of law reform. Glenroy is also the Policy Officer at WE-Change, the women’s affiliate of J-FLAG. There he holds legal education sessions and raises public awareness around gender equality. He has been appointed to the National Youth Advisory Council of Jamaica, a group of advisors to government officials, who help to include youth issues in policy development and law reform.

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Faustina Edward

Faustina helps to educate and care for disadvantaged people in her country, young and old alike. At 15, she joined the Youth On Fire Movement (YOFM), a group working to change the lives of young people. In 2014, she helped develop the YOFM After School Assistance Programme to provide one-to-one tuition to disadvantaged students, helping them to improve their grades at school. Since then, over 60 young people have benefitted from the programme. Faustina was elected YOFM President in 2016, and has since organised a free annual medical clinic to help members of the Anse-la-Raye community, in particular senior citizens, who are unable to afford medical care. She has also started the Christmas Good Turn initiative, dedicating Christmas Eve to delivering presents to senior citizens and children living in disadvantaged communities.

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Shauna Charles

Shauna works to help young people reach their potential. Having been involved in youth work since the age of 13, Shauna recently set up Bloom Incorporated, a not-for-profit organisation which supports young people in Saint Lucia. One of their first initiatives to be run by Shauna and her team, as part of the Lotus Programme, was a free summer camp for disadvantaged children in the city of Castries. The children attended lessons, took part in recreational activities and received three meals a day. Shauna is also an active volunteer of the Caribbean Centre for Family and Human Rights and in the future would like to see more young people getting involved in community issues.

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Europe Winners Runners Up

Antonia Michailidi

Antonia works to help disadvantaged people in the community. She is the co-founder of the Humanitarian Aid Programme (Cyprus), which supports refugees accommodated in Cyprus by collecting donations for the Kofinou Refugee Camp. She uses her experience of working in the camp to raise awareness of some of the problems facing the people living there, for example the financial and language difficulties they experience. Antonia is the International Law Association’s student representative in Cyprus and volunteers for One Woman At A Time, which helps abused women in Cyprus by advising women on their legal rights.

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Martina Caruana

Martina is the co-founder of the Network of Young Women Leaders in Malta, which supports women to assume leadership roles. The network raises awareness of the challenges and barriers that young women and aspiring female leaders often face and runs initiatives designed to enable women from marginalised backgrounds to thrive. As part of her role, Martina led the campaign ‘Artemisia: 100 Remarkable Women’, which told the stories of 100 successful women from all walks of life, all of whom were portrayed in an accompanying exhibition. Martina is currently training to become a lawyer, and in the future wants to support women in Yemen and provide them with opportunities for education and legal aid.

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Harry Phinda

Harry 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.

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Leanne Armitage

Leanne is training to become a doctor and is working to inspire young people from poorer backgrounds and ethnic minorities to enter the world of medicine. Having grown up in an area where knife crime is high, she decided she wanted to become a trauma surgeon, both to help patients and to enable her to work with communities and change mindsets by inspiring young people to reach their full potential. She is the founder of Leanne’s Amazing Medics, which is designed to equip and increase the self-confidence of students from ethnic minorities and disadvantaged backgrounds. It introduces students to medics from similar backgrounds and provides them with detailed understanding of what the field of medicine entails. In addition, Leanne created the Aleto Foundation’s Medical Mastermind Group, which aims to increase the personal and professional development of medical and science students.

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Günperi Sisman

Günperi is helping young people in Cyprus to develop skills in technology. After studying abroad in the USA and the UK, she returned to Cyprus and leaded the Computer Science Education Initiative of the Cyprus Child Foundation. To date, the initiative has provided free intensive courses in computer coding to 150 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Following its success, the initiative will soon expand to two cities and double in size. To further engage 18-26 year olds, Günperi works with volunteers at her university to facilitate the participation of local teams in Google Hashcode, an international coding tournament. In addition, Günperi works with Startups4Peace, and she is a mentor of the bi-communal CyInno mentorship programme.

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Rachel Portelli

Having been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of three and a half, Rachel dedicates her time to supporting others and raising awareness of the condition. While studying at university, she began volunteering with the Maltese Diabetes Association, helping out at summer camps, organising activities and attending lectures and seminars as a speaker to share her experience of living with diabetes. Rachel has been chosen as an International Diabetes Federation Young Leader in Diabetes Candidate. Rachel also helps to organise events to raise awareness of the condition every year on World Diabetes Day and discusses how it affects her life.

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Cairn Newton-Evans

Cairn champions the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community within the United Kingdom police force. As a volunteer police officer, (known as a Special Constable) with Dyfed-Powys Police, he is also the youngest Chief Officer of the Special Constabulary in Great Britain, leading a team of more than 110 officers. As part of his role, Cairn works as a Hate Crime Support Officer and LGBT Liaison Officer, specially trained both to offer additional support to victims and to officers investigating in to hate crimes and incidents involving the LGBT community. Cairn is committed to educating young people about hate crimes and the effect they have on victims, families, friends and the wider community. He speaks regularly on the issue at universities, colleges, schools, and to both youth and professional groups.

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Hayley Mulenda

Hayley is determined to raise awareness of the importance of mental health in UK universities and schools. She has led workshops, talks and presentations on the issue at 16 universities and schools, and reached more than 8,000 students. The workshops aim to teach students how best to prepare mentally for and deal with university life. She has also partnered with African-Caribbean Societies in universities to discuss how mental health experiences can be more widely talked about within the black and minority ethnic community, where the subject is often still considered taboo. In parallel, Hayley has written a book called The ABC’s To Student Success, which teaches young people how to improve their mental state through daily life lessons. She has also travelled to Uganda, where she has run mental health workshops for hundreds of young people.

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Joshua Powell

Joshua is an environmentalist, focused on increasing understanding of the role of biodiversity in conservation. He has been involved in conservation projects across four continents and has produced scientific papers about conservation management in Commonwealth countries including India, Malaysia and Singapore. With the support of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, Joshua now leads a project documenting innovative practices in island conservation in the Commonwealth South Pacific region. The aim is to use this knowledge to improve island protection systems elsewhere, including in the United Kingdom. He has been named a National Geographic Explorer for organising the Rangers Without Borders – Eurasia Expedition, which will collect data on the efforts of rangers working to protect endangered species across Europe and Asia.

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Lucy Watts

Lucy is a powerful and determined voice for the young disabled community within the United Kingdom. With a complex, life-limiting form of neuromuscular disease herself, Lucy uses social media, the Internet and the media to raise awareness of a range of disability topics, including difficult issues such as palliative care. She also supports other people with illnesses in managing their conditions. At only twenty-four, Lucy already holds positions, including ambassador, trustee and steering group member, with seven charities working to improve the lives of disabled people. Lucy sits on the NHS England Complex Needs Board as a lay member and representative of people with complex needs. Her work includes writing blogs and articles for the media and the charities with which she works.

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Pacific Winners Runners Up

Caitlin Figueiredo

Caitlin 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.

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Hunter Johnson

Hunter works to end the stigma around mental health in men and to reduce domestic violence. He co-founded The Man Cave, an organisation that works with boys and young men, providing workshops, camps and presentations that explore healthy masculinity, respectful relationships and men’s role in gender equality. The programme has worked with more than 2,500 boys and young men. Hunter’s goal is to introduce The Man Cave curriculum to every school in Australia, in order to help reduce suicide rates in young men and develop respectful relationship skills. In addition, Hunter has co-managed Young Social Pioneers, an incubator programme for the country’s top 60 social entrepreneurs and innovators aged 18 to 29. Previously, Hunter co-founded Kids in Philanthropy (KiP), which aims to develop empathy and the culture of giving among children, by encouraging them to raise money for other youngsters in need. In four years, kids and parents of KiP have raised over $300,000 through fundraising events.

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Lily Brechtefeld Kumkee

Lily helps young people and women to continue their education and to set up successful businesses. Through her work as a Business and Company Regulatory Officer with the Ministry of Commerce, Lily helps people on remote islands to register their businesses. She speaks to young people about how to turn their talents, such as craft-making and fishing, into viable businesses and encourages them to save and use their earnings to establish small legal companies. In her free time Lily also mentors women, especially young mothers, to encourage them to establish their own businesses or to continue with their education. In the future, she would like to expand her work to help both men as well as women.

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Alexia Hilbertidou

Alexia is inspiring and enabling women in New Zealand to become leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), leadership and entrepreneurship. She is founder and CEO of GirlBoss NZ. Its mission is to tackle three factors limiting women’s career opportunities in traditionally male-dominated spheres: too few role models; misconceptions of difficulty; and a lack of other women to provide peer support. GirlBoss addresses these issues through conferences, workshops, monthly newsletters and a mentoring network. Since launching the organisation, Alexia has led three GirlBoss Leadership Conferences, attended by 450 high school students, and reached 20,000 New Zealanders through school visits, corporate events and government agencies. GirlBoss now has 8,000 members and 2,200 GirlBoss Ambassadors across New Zealand.

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Ezekiel Raui

Ezekiel works to encourage men in New Zealand to take up leadership positions and to talk more openly about mental health issues. At school, he helped develop a leadership programme for Native American Polynesian and Maori students focused on four key areas: effective communication; management; self-belief; and core values. Alongside this, Ezekiel set up TuKotahi, a peer-support programme which offers information to young people about mental health services in their local area. It will be piloted in four schools in 2018. Ezekiel is also the chairperson for Te Kahui Ururoa, the national rangatahi (youth) council established by Te Rau Matatini, the National Centre for Māori Health, Māori Workforce Development and Excellence, in order to promote young Maori voices in local and national government decision-making across the country.

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Petronilla Molioo Mataeliga

Petronilla has helped provide valuable employment opportunities to young people in Samoa by reviving traditional native handicraft skills. Through the Fala Masi Revival Project, originally run by her late grandmother, Petronella teaches other women how to create traditional Samoan mats. The Project is run by the Women’s Committee of Faleapuna, of which Petronilla is a member. Attendees include members of the Samoa Victim Support Group and unemployed young people, who are able to learn new skills in order to become more financially independent. In the future, Petronilla hopes to help young people make their own creations using recycled materials.

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Millicent Barty

Millicent 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.

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Joshua Isikeli Sefesi

Joshua raises awareness of sexual reproductive health and women’s rights in Tonga. In his role as an International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) Regional Youth Representative, he helps to educate young people in his community about prevalent issues faced by Tongan women and girls, such as teenage pregnancy and gender-based violence. He holds sessions with men to educate them on equality and safe sexual practices and informs women about the support available to them. In addition, Joshua encourages young people across Tonga and the Asia-Pacific region to participate in IPPF’s #KnowItOwnIt online campaign, which calls for better quality, comprehensive sex education.

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Litiana Kalsrap

Litiana is a youth leader, committed to mobilising young people as a force for positive social and environmental change. She is Vice-Secretary of the Pango village Youth Council in Vanuatu, which oversees local youth associations. She works as a Youth Sector Counsellor for the Pango Area Council, where she represents the views of young people. As part of her work, Litiana organises activities such as beach clean-ups and tree planting initiatives. She also raises awareness about climate change and its effect on the Pacific Islands. Litiana is a member of 350 Pacific, a youth-led grassroots network working with communities to tackle climate change in the region. Her job includes organising community consultations to encourage and help people adapt to environmental changes.

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Jeffrey Effendi

Jeffrey uses design and media to raise awareness of the issues facing vulnerable people. He is the founder of DrawHistory, a social enterprise that works with non-profit organisations to amplify the stories of people who’ve overcome challenges in their lives to bring changes to society. Jeffrey and his team have so far helped more than 100 social good organisations to tell their stories, ranging from environmental sustainability to mental health, which in turn has helped raise $500,000. He is also the Vice-Curator of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community in Perth, where he manages community programmes, including a crowdfunding dinner for social entrepreneurs and a panel series where leaders who work in areas such as humanitarian aid share their stories.

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Mary Pilkinton

Mary raises awareness about young carers and the issues that they face. She is a New South Wales (NSW) Young Carer Leader and advocates for young carers in front of media and politicians. She has set up a young carers support group and is a NSW representative on the Australian National Young Carer Action Team (ANYCAT) where she produced a short film called #YCproject. Mary is also interested in Indigenous education and works with Girls from the organisation Oz (G-Oz), which takes performing arts programmes to girls in rural and largely Indigenous communities. Over the last three years, she has raised more than $4,000 for G-Oz through her school and choir.

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Nicholas de Bres

Nicholas raises awareness about mental health and wellbeing in his community. Over the last two years he has run mental health forums at schools, which have engaged over 1,000 students. The forums bring together panellists including psychiatrists, psychotherapists, counsellors, police officers and young people who have experienced mental health issues. The panellists answer anonymous questions from the students. Nicholas has also volunteered for five years at the Holdsworth Community Centre, and was recently appointed as the youngest serving disability support worker. Over the years he has helped to raise $28,000 for the centre. In the future, Nicholas would like to set up an organisation called All the Right Questions, where mental health professionals provide advice to students in rural schools.

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Daniel Gamboa Salazar

Daniel is committed to helping people seeking asylum settle and find homes in New Zealand. When, in 2012, he came to New Zealand as a refugee from Colombia with his family, he discovered that young refugees find it particularly challenging when arriving in a new country. As children often learn the local language faster than their parents, they frequently end up becoming the de-facto heads of their households. In many cases, they suffered from traumatic stress disorders as well, and had to abandon their education. His memory of these challenges spurred him to set up the New Zealand National Refugee Youth Council (NZNRYC) a few years later. Since its inception in 2015, the NZNRYC has provided training to 35 high schools on how to assist refugees. It has also been successful in persuading the government to pass legislation that enables high schools to employ teacher aides to support refugees.

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Injy Johnstone

Injy works to provide support to children in care. In 2015 she founded the Foster Child Support Network, which offers support to young people both while in their foster homes and after they leave. Injy leads a team of volunteers who provide advocacy and advice to foster children throughout New Zealand, and provide weekly mentorship and practical support for those living in the Otago area. Her long-term goal is to expand the one-to-one support for children in care across New Zealand. Injy is also passionate about the environment and after discovering there was a large disconnect between scientific research and the general public, she launched Envi.nz. The online hub is focused on connecting the community, science and sustainability to raise awareness about protecting the environment.

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Lydia Dimokari

Lydia promotes the importance of education in her community. She is the founder of Mission Vibe, an initiative that helps to provide education and training to young people aged 12 to 25 who have left school early. In 2016 she worked on the Equal Playing Field project, which ran programmes in schools to talk about the importance of safe homes and happy families, with the aim of reducing violence against women and girls. Lydia’s work has been recognised by the United Nations Development Programme and she has been named as a Youth Champion for Sustainable Development Goals.

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Amelia Kami

Amelia works to empower women in the Pacific islands. Following the death of her sister to cancer, Amelia and her family created a fund for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases, which is supported by an annual sponsored WOWS (Walk On Walk Strong) Walk in Tonga and Fiji. She also founded the WOWS Kids Fiji organisation, which cares for more than 30 sick children, and provides scholarships for students at the Queen Salote College in Tonga. Amelia is also a musician and shares a positive message to women about their rights through her music.

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Winy Marango

Winy supports young people to play a positive role in their community. As a volunteer for Youth Challenge Vanuatu, Winy mentors group members and runs activities to help build a strong community. One of the programmes she works on is the Through Their Eyes Project, which brings young people together with community leaders to discuss ways of addressing the needs of the community, for example, introducing a recycling scheme at the local school. Winy is also a senior officer at CARE, an international humanitarian aid organisation which focuses on working with women and girls in Vanuatu to create sustainable change in the community.

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