Winners 2017

Closex

Africa Winners Runners Up

Chaikhwa Lobatse

In her role as a nurse, Chaikhwa is committed to using her own experience of cancer to help improve the lives of others. After losing her leg as a result of bone cancer, on return to work Chaikhwa asked to be transferred to the oncology department of the hospital where she worked in order to be able to help other patients and their families. Together with an oncologist friend, she has founded a support group in her village to help both cancer sufferers and their carers. Chaikhwa gives talks in schools and churches to try to increase awareness of Botswana’s most prevalent forms of cancer, and to encourage primary prevention and early detection amongst patients. She also gives motivational talks to young people about the importance of facing challenges and not giving up. Chaikhwa is determined to continue to act as a voice for disabled people in Africa.

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Efua Asibon

Efua is helping to raise awareness of disability and improve teaching in special education schools. She is the co-founder of Dislabelled, an organisation which provides a teacher training programme called SustainAbility, offers a scholarship fund for disabled children and is currently organising a forum for parents of disabled children. Dislabelled also gives teaching materials to schools, and leads the ThisAbility summer programme – an initiative which exposes children with autism to new activities like robotics, arts and crafts. Dislabelled has so far worked with six special education schools and brought benefits to the lives of over 200 disabled people. In the future, Efua wants to develop a children’s book project featuring disabled characters.

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Elijah Amoo Addo

Elijah is using his experience in the catering industry to champion a series of community food initiatives supporting vulnerable people. In 2012, he started Chefs for Change Ghana Foundation which arranged for surplus food from the hospitality industry to be used to provide food for people with mental health issues, pensioners and children in need. Elijah later left his job as a head chef to set up Food for All Ghana, West Africa’s first food bank. Since launching in 2015, the organisation has recovered more than $10,000 worth of food products to feed and support almost 5000 beneficiaries across five regions in Ghana. It has also established new and extended existing partnerships with supermarkets, farmers and hotels, and has created a number of community food farms. Elijah’s vision is to grow the number of community food banks operated by Food for All Ghana from three to 30 across Ghana and West Africa in the next three years.

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Winnifred Selby

As an entrepreneur, Winnifred is committed to creating socially responsible job and educational opportunities for young women and vulnerable groups. She is the co-founder of Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative, a social enterprise which builds lowcost bikes from bamboo. The organisation now employs 35 people and commits 15% of its profits to the EPF Educational Empowerment Initiative, of which Winnifred is President. In this role, she promotes education and life chances for refugee children and girls from deprived communities. She leads a variety of programmes to help over 10,000 girls. These include the provision of uniforms, educational supplies and menstrual pads to try to curb the high rates of school absenteeism. Winnifred hopes to set up an alternative education system for girls who have never previously been to school, in order to better prepare them for entering mainstream education.

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Chebet Lesan

Chebet is dedicated to raising awareness of the dangers of indoor air pollution among the millions who cook over open fires. She founded BrightGreen Renewable Energy in order to turn the problem of waste in Kenya into a means to solve another problem – the issue of unsafe and unsustainable cooking fuel. Today, under her leadership, BrightGreen has processed more than 80 tonnes of clean cooking fuel from recycled waste, through the production of smokeless fuel briquettes that reduce indoor air pollution by up to 80%. In addition, the organisation fights deforestation by replanting trees as a source of energy, trains early school leavers on how to make BrightGreen’s products, and teaches women how to run their own sustainable businesses. Chebet’s dream is to see these solutions expanded to other African communities experiencing similar challenges.

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Domtila Chesang

Domtila is working to end female genital mutilation (FGM) in Kenya. She co-founded the group Kepsteno Rotwo Tipin CBO – “Let’s Abandon The Knife”. After helping to end the practice in her own village, Domtila now visits other communities to champion girls’ education and support the eradication of FGM and early forced marriages. She conducts workshops, training and seminars and has established alternative rite of passage ceremonies for young people. Domtila also believes that men need to take an active role in helping to end FGM and she is planning to hold a Warriors’ Festival to engage their support. The event will bring together men from remote villages to be trained on the negative health implications of FGM.

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Towett Ngetich

Towett is the founder and chief executive of Uthabiti, formerly Daktari Thabiti (“reliable doctor”). The social enterprise  aims to tackle the problem of counterfeit drugs by verifying the provenance and safety of medicines. It does this through a portable scanner for suppliers and a mobile app for consumers that installs a digital scanner onto a phone to help identify the legitimacy of drugs by scanning their batch numbers. Towett has also helped launch Onward, a social action platform, which encourages young people to volunteer to make changes in their communities in five main areas: education, healthcare, urban development, peace and cohesion, and women, youth and vulnerable groups.

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Virginia Khunguni

Virginia is leading initiatives to end cultural practices that hold back the advancement of young women. As the founder of Girls Arise for Change, she has worked with community members in three districts of Malawi to form educational support structures for girls, who have escaped early marriages, child prostitution and child labour. Virginia has also worked with health organisations to establish mobile clinics providing reproductive health services such as contraception to young people in remote areas. In future, she intends to set up a project called I RISE, to encourage victims of sexual abuse to come forward and report their cases.

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Hilda Nambili Liswani

Hilda is encouraging young people to become involved in current affairs at both a national and local level. She is the co-founder of NamibiaNow, which aims to inform and engage young Namibians about issues which affect their communities and their country. The organisation uses social media to promote local stories for local people, and gives young aspiring reporters a chance to use mobile technology to create stories. Her team is now working towards the launch of a website so that NamibiaNow can become both web and app-based. Hilda is also a member of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers: Windhoek hub, an initiative which organises events in the city to help address local community issues. In addition, she helps run the #NotSoDifferent Campaign, which aims to link educators from around the world to create a more diverse educational experience.

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Nyeuvo Amukushu

Nyeuvo is working to empower young people through entrepreneurship and investment. She was the Chairperson of the Learners Representative Council and a School Management Council member at her school, where she represented her fellow students and raised issues that affected them. She speaks at youth events about personal finance and wants to set up a venture capital fund to provide small and medium-sized enterprises run by young people with skill development, incubation and funding. Nyeuvo also volunteers for the Harambee Sustainability Programme, a leadership programme aimed at creating leaders that think about environmental impact.

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Bukola Bolarinwa

Bukola was born with Sickle Cell Disease. After noticing the chronic shortage of blood faced by people living with Sickle Cell who need regular transfusions, she joined the Sickle Cell Aid Foundation in 2010 to help raise awareness about the importance of giving blood. She began a monthly campaign drive in partnership with the National Blood Transfusion Service to try to ensure a regular supply of donated blood, and to help combat cultural fears about giving blood. In 2015, Bukola set up an online blood donation register which asks young people to register to donate blood in emergency situations. During its first year, the register has gained more than 1,000 prospective donors and, through the use of social media and text messaging, linked over 500 donors with patients in urgent need of blood. Bukola is currently working to recruit 5,000 people as registered blood donors by December 2017.

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Nasir Yammama

Nasir is harnessing the power of simple, low-cost technologies to help local farmers produce more crops and increase their sales. He is the founder of the social enterprise Verdant Agritech Ltd, which began in 2015 by teaching 50 farmers how to use lowcost mobile phones to access market and weather information, management skills and financial services. Now, in collaboration with Oxfam and GIZ, Verdant is supporting 25,000 farmers through a mobile platform which makes smallholders more visible to the markets, and provides agricultural data for improved food production. Nasir’s vision is to transform agriculture in Nigeria and enable farmers to double or triple their yields.

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Kellya Uwiragiye

Kellya is working to improve access to services and education for deaf people. After discovering members of the deaf community were unable to access the media, Kellya started Media for Deaf Rwanda. As well as working as a sign language interpreter, Kellya raises awareness of the difficulties deaf people face. She designed a communications campaign called Sign your Name, which featured policy makers signing their names on television in order to promote Rwandan Sign Language and the importance of greater access to services. Kellya is now developing vocational training videos for young deaf people. Her future goal is to create an education centre for deaf children.

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Yvette Ishimwe

Yvette is working with communities to ensure improved access to safe water supplies, and to reduce the burden on women and children responsible for collecting water. She is the founder of IRIBA Clean Water Delivery Ltd, which offers clean household water to people living in remote areas. She created the company in 2015 after realising that children were having to miss school because of the amount of time spent collecting water, whilst women were forced to wait hours to buy water supplies from local centres. Yvette’s solution was to collect water from Lake Muhazi, clean it using an ultraviolet water purifier, and deliver the water at an affordable price to people in the community using bikes. Yvette now employs 25 young people and plans to expand the scheme to other districts.

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Demien Mougal

Demien is educating young people in the Seychelles about sexual and reproductive health. As chairman of the Youth Action Movement (YAM), he has helped organise national events about sex education and teenage pregnancies, working in collaboration with the Seychelles National Youth Assembly and the Ministry of Education. Through the My Health, My Responsibility campaign, he has also helped introduce peer educators into schools. Over the next few years, Demien intends to introduce workshops promoting sexual health and leadership for students. He is also a member of the sustainable development organisation SYAH, due to his concern about the long-term future of small islands; and the vice-chairman of the Association for Rights, Information and Democracy, which allowed him to act as an observer during the Presidential election in 2015.

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Kumba Musa

Kumba has been working to encourage more women to enter the science, technology, engineering and mathematics professions. As an engineer, Kumba became disheartened at the lack of other women working in her field. So in 2015 she founded Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Women Sierra Leone (STEM Women) to try to motivate girls to pursue STEM careers and improve STEM education in the country. Kumba and her team visit schools to talk to pupils about the benefits of STEM subjects, and mentor female students who are interested in pursuing such careers. She is currently planning to introduce STEM Social Clubs into schools, which will focus on the practical aspects of the subjects. The organisation will also recruit and train STEM teachers.

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Salton Massally

Salton is using online and digital technology to help generate employment, and address some of the socio-economic challenges facing his home country. He is the creator of careers. sl, a job search website that aims to reduce unemployment by advertising work opportunities around Sierra Leone. He also began the start-up company iDT Labs, which uses technology to develop scalable solutions for some of the country’s social and economic issues. For example, Salton and his team helped create a payment system for Sierra Leone’s 27,000 Ebola Response Workers during the 2014 Ebola crisis. iDT Labs also runs a computer literacy training programme for business owners and recent graduates. In future, Salton would like to develop careers. sl workshops to teach computer literacy to young people.

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Aditi Lachman

Aditi is a civil engineer and managing director of WomEng (Women in Engineering), a social enterprise working to close the skills and gender gap in engineering by ensuring girls and women have the necessary skills, support and access to networks. Having started off as a mentor for the organisation, she now leads its operations in South Africa and Kenya. WomEng has reached more than 10,000 girls and women via its GirlEng and Fellowship programmes, which support high school girls and university engineering students. In 2016, in celebration of the organisation’s 10th anniversary, Aditi and her team launched the #1MillionGirlsinSTEM campaign. They now aim to reach a million girls through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education and awareness initiatives in at least ten different countries over the next ten years.

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Chantelle De Abreu

Chantelle is dedicated to helping marginalised young people pursue careers in sport whilst continuing their more traditional education. She is the founder of Educating Athletes, which provides academic placements, tuition, uniforms, mentoring, “community give-backs” and counselling for young sportsmen and women. Through her work, Chantelle hopes to show that sport and education can be carried out together. Specifically, she wants to inspire young athletes to return to their community to tell other young people about the importance of education.

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Farai Mubaiwa

Farai is working to empower young people in Africa. In 2015, she began the Africa Matters Initiative, which brings together 20 young Africans from across the continent who are committed to involving their peers in conversations about identity and leadership and ensuring fair media reporting. Farai is responsible for expanding the initiative and she oversees its social media channels and the content it produces and disseminates. The Initiative recently created an online African Leadership Development Programme in collaboration with the Fredrick van Zyl Leadership Institute at Stellenbosch University. Farai also serves on the Rape Culture Task Team at the university, and is an active voice for the #EndRapeCulture campaign to help change attitudes and teach women about their rights.

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Nonduduzo Ndlovu

Nonduduzo is leading initiatives to help girls living in rural communities continue their education. She mentors school and university students, and links other young women and girls with mentors able to help them pursue their career ambitions. Nonduduzo is also a volunteer at the youth organisation Young Climber, where she encourages young women to move towards their career goals. She speaks at its annual Success Summit, and helps fundraise for school fees for students from poor backgrounds. Nonduduzo would like to set up an Online Learning Centre where school leavers who are not qualified enough to go on to tertiary education will be able to take online courses to develop their skills.

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Favourite Driciru

Favourite is supporting young people and women to find employment in Uganda through the provision of micro-credit lending and training in social enterprise. She set up Favourline Financial Solutions in 2014 after discovering that many young people in her community were unable to find jobs after finishing school or university. Two years on, Favourite has been able to help over 400 young people and women launch businesses in areas ranging from agriculture to retail. She now leads a team of five, and also engages in project development and training to help young people create viable business proposals able to attract funding. Favourite would also like to launch a new Keep Girls In School Initiative in the future, to support girls forced to leave school early due to pregnancy to acquire basic technical training from vocational institutions, which they can then use to earn a living.

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Joel Baraka

Joel is focused on providing practical ways to address some of the challenges facing young refugees, and encouraging them to engage in education. Joel grew up in the Kyangwali refugee settlement in Uganda, and at the age of 14 set up a sports programme to try to tackle some of the problems within the camp, including gangs, teenage pregnancies and early marriages, all of which led to high school dropout rates. His programme included organising football and volleyball games for boys and girls, followed by post-match discussions on social issues. Despite the programme’s successes, Joel realised many of the refugee students were still performing poorly at school. In response to this, he came up with the idea of creating educational games which would allow children to learn the curriculum through play. Joel is currently developing the games further to try to help solve the problem of poor performance amongst refugee pupils.

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Ruth Nabembezi

Ruth is committed to raising awareness of the importance of sexual and reproductive health through the innovative use of mobile phone technology. She is the founder of Ask Without Shame, a social enterprise providing a free and anonymous service in which medical experts answer sex education questions via apps, text messages and calls. Most of the questions are posed by teenagers from disadvantaged backgrounds. Since its launch in 2015, Ruth and her team have responded to more than 35,000 questions from 20,000 users. The success of its work won Ask Without Shame a grant to set up an information and call centre. This will enable the team to respond to 1,000 users a day, and create a clinic where callers will be able to receive treatment and counselling.

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Natasha Salifyanji Kaoma

Natasha is committed to raising awareness about sexual health. In 2015, whilst attending medical school, she co-founded Copper Rose Zambia to teach women about the importance of sexual and reproductive health. Since then, the organisation has launched fundraising drives to provide menstrual hygiene kits to girls in rural areas, and, through its Candid Pride Campaign and Woman4Her programmes, has educated over 5,000 teenagers about reproductive health. Natasha is also the country co-ordinator for the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning and a member of the Youth Coalition on Sexual and Reproductive Rights, where she supports the inclusion of young people in policy making. Her goal over the next five years is to reach a million females through sexual and reproductive health programmes by 2021.

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Nandini Kochar

Nandini is the founder of the Ray of Hope Project, which educates children living in rural areas. Since its inception two years ago, the organisation has recruited 40 high school students in Botswana and the UK who tutor vulnerable children and refugees in English, maths and life skills. The group has also organised fundraising events for disadvantaged families in the community, including helping one to set up a small shop. Nandini and her team have recently completed the building of a day care centre in Gamodubu Village for 30 children under the age of six.

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Desmond Atanga

Desmond works to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and provide young people with access to sexual and reproductive health information. Between 2010 and 2015 he talked to more than 10,000 school pupils and led a radio programme which used drama to educate them about the issue. He is the founder of Deserve Cameroon, which is working to increase access to sexual and reproductive health information for young people from 13% to 70% in 10 years. As project manager, he trains school counsellors on ways to approach sexual education in secondary schools.

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Emilia Miki

Emilia provides practical life and vocational skills to young people and women so that they can create their own employment. She is the founder of the Denis Miki Foundation (DMF), which encourages participants to think about entrepreneurship and setting up their own businesses. The foundation also focuses on health care, hygiene and sanitation and conservation activities within the community. It has so far helped more than 1,500 young people and 700 women. Emilia also runs Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) care programmes, including one called #ShareTheLove project, which organises fundraising activities and offers mentorship to children.

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Jude Thaddues Njikem

Jude works to promote gender equality in his community. As a teacher, he became concerned with the number of girls who were leaving school early due to lack of proper hygiene facilities, early marriages and pregnancy. He joined the Organisation of African Youth and began to lead conferences and training sessions on sexual rights and reproductive health for students and awareness campaigns on sexual abuse and gender based violence. Jude also founded the Community Centre for Integrated Development, which aims to build strong communities by advancing the rights of women and girls and supporting young people to become community change agents.

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Michele Valerie Njiki Djemi

Michele supports women and girls to develop their potential. She is the co-founder of Build Our Women Cameroon, which provides educational and mentoring programmes. Michele runs programmes which are tailored to the communities she is working in and include science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) camps, leadership courses, entrepreneurship guidance and educational scholarships. She also works with grassroots associations to provide sexual and reproductive health information to girls who live in rural areas and works to end child marriages and promote education instead.

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Abraham Addy

Abraham works to improve health and sanitation in his community. He set up the TranSite (Transform Dumpsites) community organisation, which uses sport to promote the habit of proper waste disposal and management. The project focuses on cleaning up areas used as dumpsites and transforming them into playgrounds for young people. The collected waste is sorted and recycled or composted where possible. In the future, the group hopes to begin a vocational programme to create jobs for young people by making products from recycled waste. Abraham is also involved with an Ashesi University sanitation project that aims to introduce odourless, hygienic and affordable composting toilets into the community.

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Belinda Otieno

Belinda is working to find a solution to the lack of social housing and the slum settlements in Kenya. She is one of the founders of the Slum Architects Association, which brings together university built environment and social sciences students and professionals to research the best ways to upgrade the settlements and design affordable housing. Belinda and her colleagues are currently in the design stages of a number of projects, including renovating a primary school library in Korogocho, Nairobi. They hope that the findings of their research will help to prompt policy changes in housing and slum upgrading projects in Kenya.

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Derrick Wanjala

Derrick is working to tackle poverty at a grassroots level. He is the co-founder of Huduma Jamii, which enables members to pay $2 for two chickens. They are then trained in poultry management, agribusiness and finance in order to care for the birds and sell their produce. After five months, they are required to return three chicks to ensure the project is sustainable. Members are encouraged to save money obtained through their sales for three months, after which they are entitled to a loan towards the purchase of a heifer, goat, sheep or the expansion of their poultry project. The initiative has so far helped 900 young people and women and aims to reach 30,000 people in the next five years.

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Kevin Mwendwa

Kevin is a social entrepreneur who is working to increase employment among young people and to reduce environmental problems. He is the founder of The Bon Vie Company, which creates poly-fabric from waste fabric and polythene bags. The durable material can then be used to make strong new bags, which reduces the number of polythene ones which are thrown away. Kevin leads a team of 15 people, and has trained 20 previously unemployed young people in crafts. The company’s profits are used to hold seminars about entrepreneurship, which are targeted at unemployed young people from deprived areas and have since led to the creation of a number of small businesses.

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Oscar Juma

Oscar believes in using the arts to create opportunities for young people. He helped establish Kibera Social Arts, which works with young people in the slum of Kibera to promote peace and provide opportunities through education and training. The project offers three programmes, including therapeutic arts, community sanitation and girl empowerment. The group also sources funds to pay tuition fees for local children and the project has enabled young people to travel to Europe and the USA to perform. Oscar and the team are currently leading a community sanitation programme, which encourages people to take a lead role in cleaning and maintaining their surroundings.

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Peter Njeri

Peter is committed to finding ways to improve standards of living and access to community services through mobile phone and online technology. He is the founder of Lloyd Constellations Consulting Ltd, situated at the Chandaria Business Innovation and Incubation Centre – Kenyatta University, which develops apps and online platforms to help tackle some of the issues facing local people. He has helped develop an app called The Student Recruiter that connects students to internships, jobs and graduate programmes to reduce unemployment, and online platforms where people can access healthcare information for free. He is also working with the government to create an app called The Nyumba Kumi (Ten Houses), which will help Kenyans get to know their neighbours and encourage community cohesion.

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Sarah Mwikali Musau

As an outreach volunteer with Leonard Cheshire Disability International, Sarah promotes the rights of young people with disabilities and aims to make buildings more accessible. Sarah has represented disabled people at the UN Youth Assembly and is a Global Youth Ambassador for A World at School, where she promotes every child’s right to education. She is employed by the Action Network for the Disabled as a project officer and child rights trainer and implemented a project called Inclusive Sports for Children with a Disability, which aims to bring children with and without disabilities together in a school environment.

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Sylvia Otieno

Sylvia works to find solutions to environmental problems. She is the co-founder of Young Volunteers for the Environment Kenya. As the project manager of its Green Entrepreneurship programme, she works with young people, particularly girls, to introduce them to sustainable development and energy projects. She helps to train women aged 18 to 32 without formal education to identify, start and manage green businesses. Sylvia and her team have also trained ten women on how to construct ‘clean’ cooking stoves, which consume less firewood and emit minimal amounts of smoke. This has helped to reduce respiratory related infections in those households and the women have gone on to train other members of the community.

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Victor Wasonga

Victor set up the Garden of Hope Foundation to provide mentorship and leadership skills to young people living in the Kibera slum. The organisation also works to support girls during their menstruation so that they can remain in school, by providing them with sanitary towels. Victor currently leads a team of 100 volunteers and 20 staff members. The team partners with 30 schools to provide mentorship and has trained more than 3,000 young people on areas including leadership, peace and drug abuse. They also offer career advice to students who have finished secondary school, by offering a 22-week programme which covers topics including interview processes, job searching and community service.

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Winnie Mangeni

Winnie works to reduce early marriage and school drop-outs in her community by providing agricultural training. She is the founder of Wanawakecan, which helps women to become financially independent through agriculture and provides microloans in the form of assets such as pigs.

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Chidinma Akaniro

Chidinma works to support women to become entrepreneurs. After setting up a jewellery business, she founded the Young Female Entrepreneurs Network Nigeria (YFENN) after noticing the low number of other female entrepreneurs. YFENN is a platform for existing and aspiring entrepreneurs to connect and support each other. It offers services including mentorship, business development training, financing opportunities and skill acquisition training. Building on her experience, Chidinma set up an organisation called Youths of West Africa (YOWA) which helps young people to create and run sustainable businesses. The organisation provides free business development services for existing young entrepreneurs and assists aspiring entrepreneurs to begin their journey.

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Christiana Iyasele

Christiana is a chemical engineering graduate who strives to educate other girls about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects. While at university she pioneered a STEM chapter to mentor and tutor secondary school students in practical, hands-on science. Christiana also volunteers for the WAAW foundation (Working to Advance STEM Education for African Women) and has taken part in school outreaches where she has shared her story, reaching more than 500 girls over the course of two years.

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Chukwuebuka Obimma

Chukwuebuka is working to find solutions to inadequate energy and power generation. He is the founder of D’Suon Energy, which aims to end energy poverty and unemployment by increasing access to sustainable energy sources. Chukwuebuka and his team supply solar powered lamps to off-grid communities at affordable prices and encourage young people and women to create small businesses selling the products in place of kerosene lamps. They also assemble solar powered stations that charge mobile phones. In addition, Chukwuebuka visits schools to educate students, teachers and parents about sustainable energy sources and to provide students with solar powered lamps to help them study at night.

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Grace Ihejiamaizu

Grace is helping to advise and train the next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders. After graduating from university, she set up iKapture Networks, to help equip young people with the essential business skills and knowledge needed to launch their careers. One of its main initiatives is YouthLEAD, a programme which mentors and trains early school leavers to start their own businesses, volunteer and learn new skills. So far, it has reached more than 2,000 young people. Grace has also created OpportunityDesk.org, an online platform that shares information about scholarships, conferences, awards, jobs and grants from around the world.

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Oluwafisayo Ajisola

Oluwafisayo is the co-founder of The Jewel Empowerment Foundation, which works to help young people to discover their potential. Programmes run by Oluwafisayo and her colleagues include youth seminars, skill acquisition workshops and entrepreneurial seminars. The group also aims to help disadvantaged people in the community, including people living with HIV/AIDS, young people in juvenile homes and displaced families. Since beginning in 2011, the programme has helped more than 1,000 young people. In the future Oluwafisayo would like to create an entrepreneurial centre, where young people can learn skills such as tailoring, baking and hairdressing.

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Oluwaseun Osowobi

Oluwaseun is the founder and executive director of Stand to End Rape Initiative, an organisation which offers survivors the chance to speak out about their experiences and provides holistic services to address their individual needs. The youth-led organisation also works with the community to change attitudes that contribute to rape culture and promotes positive masculinity among men and boys as it relates to their roles in ending sexual violence. Along with her team, Oluwaseun promotes sexual reproductive health and rights, advocates against sexual violence and is building young people’s interest in contributing to social change. She also works with the Nigerian Legal Frameworks on the need to pass bills to protect Nigerians from abuse and provides educational support, sex education and self-defence classes to girls from deprived backgrounds.

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Omotayo Junaid

Omotayo is the co-founder of the Safe and Smart Foundation for Girls, which focuses on proper menstrual hygiene and reproductive health for women and adolescent girls in rural communities. With 20 volunteers, eight team members and six board trustees, the organisation distributes free sanitary pads and other materials to women and girls in order to reduce the rates of reproductive tract infections, low self-confidence and absenteeism in schools. Through public health meetings, Omotayo also helps to educate them on proper menstrual hygiene practice. Her vision is that every girl in Nigeria will one day have access to sanitary, reliable and cost-effective materials during their menstruation.

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Onyinye Edeh

Onyinye is committed to developing a community of girls and women who support each other and is the founder of the Strong Enough Girls Empowerment Initiative. The women-led organisation promotes education and encourages girls to pursue their dreams and make positive contributions to the world. Onyinye and her team provide school supplies and mentorship to girls in Nigeria and connect with women and girls around the world through their website and social media. Onyinye is also a fellow with the Institute of Current World Affairs and is researching child marriage, girl child education and girls’ health and empowerment in Nigeria and Niger.

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Norbert Gasinzigwa

Norbert is working to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of his community, including those living with HIV. He is the founder of Rwanda: Together We Can, which supports poor and under-educated Rwandans, particularly women living with HIV and their families. Norbert leads 60 volunteers who work with around 200 women living with HIV, to provide them with medical and psychological support. Norbert has also partnered with the local government to secure land in which to provide bicycle taxi drivers with safety training. He currently funds all the work himself, but would like to grow the organisation so it can become self-sufficient.

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Roselyne Mukaneza

Roselyne works to involve young people in the political system. She set up the online platform Ballotbay, which provides citizens with information about county governments, county assemblies and the roles of the elected leaders. Its aim is to strengthen public participation in the elections, by equipping users with information to help them make informed choices in electing leaders. The project also runs a social media project aimed at increasing youth participation in democracy. The platform currently covers Kenya, which has a high level of Internet usage, but Roselyne hopes that by 2020 it will cover the whole of East Africa.

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Theodomir Sebazungu

Theodomir is a doctor who is working to increase sexual and reproductive health education in Rwanda. After recognising that availability of health services is limited for those who cannot afford them, he began to invest his time in health promotion and job creation through entrepreneurship. Since 2009, he has been teaching sexual health sessions in secondary schools and community centres. He also helped to design and implement a project that trained sex workers in hairdressing and tailoring. Theodomir works in a community hospital and is in the process of setting up a digital platform where people living in remote areas can call, text or chat online about concerns related to sexual and reproductive health.

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Aminata Bintu Wurie

Aminata works to improve the lives of women and young people. She is the co-founder of the Survivor Dream Project (SDP), which helps women and young people who have survived traumatic events to re-integrate back into society by providing psychosocial, educational and entrepreneurial support. As the programme manager, Aminata oversees the content and tools used in the sessions. She is also a board member of the Miss Sierra Leone Limited, where she has worked to shift the perception that people have about beauty pageants, through radio talk shows and coaching workshops. She has also mentored contestants on how to create positive change in society.

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Hellen Ziribagwa

Hellen is a youth trainer who works to promote girls’ rights. In 2014 she began a project to combat early marriage in Uganda, which often leads to girls dropping out of school at a young age. Together with her team, Hellen has reached 500 young people in four communities where early marriages are common. They also trained 16 peer educators to continue educating more young people in these communities. Building on the success of the project, Hellen helped set up the Pass It On Trust Uganda, an organisation which promotes education and training as a tool of change against child marriages. The team works in two districts and has reached over 300 children in two primary schools through its projects.

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Kandole Reagan

Kandole is committed to promoting recycling and waste reduction. He is the founder of the Waste Management Education Project, which encourages young people to recycle, reuse and reduce waste. As a result of the project’s success, Kandole was able to register it as a non-profit making company EcoAction Ltd, which aims to create income-generating opportunities for young people through recycling. These include workshops on how to make greenhouses from recycled materials and composting degradable waste. Kandole also creates art installations made from recycled materials to raise awareness of the importance of waste management. In addition, he runs training sessions in reusing and recycling waste for prison inmates to provide them with skills for the future.

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Manisuli Miyingo

Manisuli works to equip disadvantaged young people to lead social change in the community. He runs an education programme that teaches young people aged 14 to 25 leadership and social entrepreneurship skills to enable them to solve local problems. Along with his team, Manisuli leads activities in schools and organises workshops during school holidays. The group also runs a programme called Youths in Leadership Training, which trains young people in essential life skills, democracy and good governance at youth conferences, summits and seminars. In the future Manisuli hopes to engage more of Uganda’s large youth population to become change makers.

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Saddam Hussein Kiiza

Saddam raises awareness of the role communities can play in protecting the environment. He began his work by holding talks at community halls and taking part in media interviews to educate people about the dangers of generating carbon dioxide through factories, bush burning, deforestation and driving cars. He now leads a project called Young African Leaders Talk on Climate Change and hosts events across Uganda which bring together community leaders, young people and farmers to discuss the issues of climate change, community transformation and environmental preservation. At the events Saddam and his team provide trees for planting and establish model bio gas stations for the communities to learn from and replicate.

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Joseph Koams Sichangwa Pupe

Joseph is an artist who uses music to encourage young people to engage in positive social change. As a believer in ‘music that inspires positive change’, he writes and performs songs on issues ranging from gender equality and child marriage to HIV/AIDS. Joseph works alongside a number of community organisations that provide workshops, leadership training and conferences for young people. His music is also used in schools and colleges, as well as during road-shows, and on the radio and television. He recently received a scholarship to pursue a degree in music production and hopes to be able to help other young artists develop their skills.

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Asia Winners Runners Up

Rahat Hossain

Rahat is working to improve Bangladesh’s emergency and disaster relief services through training and technology. He is the co-founder of CriticaLink, which trains emergency first aid volunteers, and alerts them to accidents via a mobile app. Since launching the organisation in 2015, Rahat and his team have trained over 2,600 volunteers. The mobile app allows people to report accidents and has led to the rescue of more than 1,000 patients in Dhaka so far. In future, Rahat is hoping to implement Mass Causality Incident policies in Dhaka to co-ordinate the deployment of the police, firefighters and medical teams in emergency situations. He also plans to create emergency response drill awareness programmes in rural areas, where people are often most at risk during natural disasters.

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Sajid Iqbal

Sajid is championing the use of renewable energy in commercial and domestic environments. He is the founder of Change, a youth-led development agency which has been pioneering renewable energy initiatives since 2012. Through Change, Sajid has introduced the idea of using low-cost natural lighting in slums and factories. In disadvantaged communities, he has introduced solar bottle lights to 4,000 residents ensuring natural lighting and reduced dependency on electric bulbs. He has also developed solar pipe lights, which allow factories to use natural light from outside, rather than electrical bulbs. Within two years, Change is aiming to ensure that 1% of industries will use the sky lights, as a way to reduce electricity costs and CO2 emissions. Sajid and his team are also developing solar water pumps and purifiers for rural communities.

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Ankit Kawatra

Ankit is the founder of Feeding India and is committed to ensuring excess food is used to tackle hunger. At the age of 22, he began working with a team of five volunteers and started partnering with caterers and restaurants to encourage them to donate their excess food to people in need. He then created programmes, called Hunger Hero and Superhero, to enable volunteers to recruit, organise and take action against hunger and food waste in their communities. In less than two years the project has expanded to 2,000 volunteers in 28 cities, and has served close to a million meals. Ankit is now working to provide 100 million meals by 2020, via a network of 10,000 volunteers in 100 cities.

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Suhani Jalota

Suhani is a leader in women’s health and female entrepreneurship initiatives. She is the founder of the Myna Mahila Foundation, a network of young women living in slum communities who produce low cost hygiene products, such as sanitary pads. After conducting research into public health in slum areas, Suhani used seed funding to set up a manufacturing unit in Mumbai that now employs 18 women to produce, market, and distribute sanitary pads door-to-door. She also works with the community to create positive conversations around menstrual hygiene and health. She now hopes to scale up her work into other communities.

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Heidy Quah

Heidy is committed to championing refugee issues in Malaysia, and to helping young refugees rebuild their lives. She is the founder and director of Refuge For The Refugees, a non-profit organisation which seeks to raise awareness of the status of refugees in the country, and provides education for refugee children. Together with a team of four people, Heidy oversees eight refugee schools. This involves managing a group of volunteer teachers, helping to develop structures and syllabuses, and networking with partner organisations. Heidy does this whilst studying for a degree in finance. In future she hopes to be able to help refugee families set up small businesses.

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Syed Faizan Hussain

Faizan is a social entrepreneur who uses technology to create solutions to health problems in his community. He has developed a number of startups, including Edu-Aid, which translates sign language into spoken language, and OneHealth, a disease surveillance and tracking system which notifies health institutions about epidemic outbreaks. Faizan also works as a voluntary teacher and has mentored more than 200 students from underprivileged households and equipped them with computer programming skills. Faizan is now planning to develop Venture Dart, a tech consultant and outsourcing company for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

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Yunquan Qin

Yunquan has been active in giving vulnerable Asian groups, including women and children, the power of self-defence. She is the co-founder of Kapap Academy Singapore, where she trains women and children in Kapap (Israeli unarmed combat) so that they can protect themselves against domestic violence or potential attacks. In 2015, Yunquan and her team trained more than 3,000 participants and expect to train over 8,000 in 2017. They also offer free classes to the elderly and victims of crimes and Yunquan gives talks at companies and schools to educate people about personal protection. Yunquan is now planning to open training centres in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and selected cities in China, to run alongside her two existing centres in Singapore.

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Rakitha Malewana

Rakitha is using his medical research expertise and community work to pioneer a new HIV nano-vaccine, and to encourage more young people to engage in scientific innovation. Rakitha first began working with people affected by HIV/AIDS in 2011, when he started visiting slum areas to teach science, maths and English to the children of people living with the disease. In 2012, he formed ideanerd Sri Lanka, which encourages schoolchildren to get involved in scientific research, and promotes an innovation culture. So far, it has helped more than 20,000 students conduct scientific investigations. In 2015, Rakitha co-founded United Youth Consortium to raise awareness of sexual reproductive health issues, and provide support and counselling to families living with HIV.

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Senel Wanniarachchi

Senel uses social media to inform and engage members of the community, especially women and young people, on issues that affect them. His longstanding love of writing first prompted him to use social media platforms to tell the stories of ordinary people in his community. The posts became so popular that he was invited to write a regular column about contemporary issues from a youth perspective for the national newspaper The Nation. In 2015, Senel co-founded Hashtag Generation, a youth movement committed to creating online and offline platforms to encourage discussions around youth engagement and gender equality. One of its projects We Govern Sri Lanka (#WeGovernSL) holds training programmes for women who want to learn how to use the internet to become more engaged in national and local issues.

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Amiya Prapan Chakra Borty

Amiya helps young people to play an active role in social change. Amiya set up the Dhrubotara Youth Development Foundation (DYDF) 16 years ago. Today, it has 18,000 young volunteers and two million direct beneficiaries. The foundation runs a range of programmes, including an entrepreneurial initiative that has so far provided work for 2,000 young people; a programme which has trained 15,000 students in various practical skills; and regular youth and entrepreneurial summits. In 2014, DYDF helped set up a Youth Parliament to allow young people to have their say on national policies.

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Ankit Agarwal

Ankit is using social entrepreneurship to address the problem of toxic waste in India. In 2015 he founded Helpusgreen, an organisation which aims to reduce pollution in the Ganges River by recycling waste flowers from places of worship into lifestyle products. Each day, Ankit and his team collect used flowers from the temples in Uttar Pradesh, preventing 7,600kgs of waste and 97kgs of toxic chemicals from entering the river. The waste is then handcrafted by women into fertiliser and incense sticks. By 2019, Ankit plans to have set up similar operations in four other locations, to provide jobs for 11,000 women and enable daily recycling of 32 tonnes of waste.

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Arjun Mishra

Arjun is the founder of The National Association for the Blind Employment and Training (NABET INDIA) and works to support visually impaired people to gain employment by matching them with private sector companies. The organisation has assisted more than 300 blind people to secure work in industries ranging from telecoms to hospitality. In the future, Arjun hopes to create jobs in other industries and would also like to work with government agencies to offer skills training for visually impaired participants.

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Carl Ebenezer

Carl is an entrepreneur and the co-founder of Save The Globe, a non-profit organisation which encourages young people to take on leadership responsibilities to solve problems in their communities. To date, it has reached more than 20,000 people through its projects in 17 towns and cities in India. Carl also works as an independent leadership consultant and assists start-up companies which have the potential to help the community to grow. He is the founder of Entrepreneurs, Policymakers, Investors & Changemakers (EPIC Partners) and a peer support and mentoring platform for first time entrepreneurs from non-traditional business communities in Asia and Africa.

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Gopi Shankar Madurai

Gopi works with gender and sexual minorities in India, and uses sport as a means to improve welfare and create better understanding in communities. Gopi is the founder of Srishti Madurai, a welfare group that works with LGBTI+ communities and leads a number of related initiatives in the state of Tamil Nadu. In 2015, Gopi was invited to the Indian Parliament to speak to MPs about transgender rights. To date, Gopi has conducted over 85 seminars on gender and sexuality, reaching 8,000 students. Gopi also works as a yoga instructor, and has taught the practice to more than 5,000 rural children. Gopi believes in sport as a tool for social change and went on to set up the Srishti Madurai Sports Initiative, which is currently training and educating 36 girls.

 

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Harshit Gupta

Harshit promotes equality in his community. He is the founder of the social initiative Womenite, which works to create an equal society. He currently leads a team of more than 35 people who offer workshops in schools and other institutions on areas including feminism, child sexual abuse and menstruation. Harshit and his team have already reached around 10,000 students, by holding workshops in 20 schools and 10 colleges. They also hold gender equality awareness campaigns in public places. In the future Harshit would like to launch a community development programme to work with marginalised communities in order to provide them with employment opportunities.

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Omang Agarwal

Omang works to involve young people in creating peaceful communities. He runs Youth for Peace International from the University of Delhi. Members are involved in a number of different projects, including training young people to work towards peaceful relationships with Pakistan and providing welfare for the Rohingya refugee community. The training involves teaching participants how to connect with people from other cultures and how they can use creative methods like sport, cultural activities and blogging to achieve this. The group also partners with other organisations to provide trained volunteers who can help to support refugee welfare programmes.

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Ria Sharma

Ria is the founder and president of Make Love Not Scars, which helps victims of acid attacks. The organisation helps survivors access to medical and emotional support, funding for medical procedures and gain legal advice. It has a network of more than 500 volunteers and holds awareness campaigns across the country. Ria has recently opened India’s first rehabilitation centre for acid attack survivors in New Delhi, which provides them with education and skill training in order to be able to gain employment in the future. It also provides emotional and mental support services. In the future Ria wants to open more centres across India to help other survivors.

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Siddhi Pal

Siddhi works to break down barriers faced by marginalised communities. She is the co-founder of Breaking Barriers, India’s first school-based Gay-Straight Alliance and set up the first international peer support e-magazine, The Thrive Magazine, to help connect LGBTI+ young people. Siddhi is also the Asia Regional Policy Advocacy Co-ordinator for the Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassadors Network.

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Smriti Nagpal

Smriti is a social entrepreneur and Indian Sign Language (ISL) interpreter. She is the founder of Atulyakala, which enables deaf artists to receive an income by creating products which can be sold. It also provides free education, professional training and life skills to deaf people at its training centre. In addition, Smriti works as an interpreter on national television, sharing the news with some of the 18 million deaf people who live in the country, and leads awareness campaigns about ISL, to encourage more people to learn it. She plans to use money raised through Atulyakala to provide bilingual education to deaf students in rural areas.

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Hong Boon Yeoh

Hong is keen to encourage university students to innovate alongside learning traditional academic skills. In order to help graduates to develop new skills and offer them networking opportunities, he formed a student branch of IEEE (Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers) at the Universiti Sains Malaysia. The group hosts innovation events, to support members to carry out creative projects. Hong encourages members to become entrepreneurs by providing engineering services to the industry and pitching for and obtaining grants. The group also offers the iCipta volunteer teaching programme, which helps secondary school students to develop engineering solutions to real problems under the mentorship of members.

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Haider Ali

Haider is a paraclimber who aims to make the sport more accessible to disabled young people. Blind since the age of five, Haider has always had a love of outdoor activities and is the founder of the Pakistan Paraclimbing Club. The club holds events to promote the inclusion of disabled young people in mountaineering, trekking and rock climbing. Haider also promotes equal rights for disabled people and has helped to draft government policies. In the future, he hopes to expand the reach of the club to include people who live in more rural areas and his ultimate ambition is to summit Mount Everest.

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Ifrah Faiz

Ifrah works to promote women’s rights. Between 2008 and 2011 she was a member of the Pakistan Air Force and worked as a female general duty pilot and sergeant before taking up humanitarian work. She has since worked in refugee camps in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where she headed up the UN Women’s Project and helped to promote the self-sufficiency of internally-displaced females. She also organised educational events to mark days such as the International Day of the Girl Child and International Women’s Day in order to inform women and girls about their rights. Ifrah continues to visit schools and universities to give talks to girls to encourage them to achieve their dreams.

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Snober Abbasi

Snober uses technology to encourage community cohesion. He is a member of the Pakistan-US Alumni Network and has been involved in organising events such as the Youth Tech Camp and the International Women’s Empowerment Conference. As a digital media and marketing consultant, Snober is currently working on a social media campaign which aims to bridge the gap between the public and the police. He has also organised events including Pakistan’s first Innovation Conference: Make In Pakistan and its first Women’s Transportation Innovation Challenge and Hackathon. In the future, he would like to set up a social enterprise, teaching girls how to code.

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Andy Tay

Andy works to improve mental health care in Singapore. As an undergraduate student he carried out an internship at the Health Promotion Board, where he led research into existing strategies to combat mental health problems and proposed a new model to help reduce stigma. He also helps to organise Project Inclusive, which aims to improve the mental health of migrant workers. So far the project has engaged 2,000 workers, 1,000 members of the public and 50 student volunteers. In addition, Andy works to bridge the gap in educational standards between Singapore and Cambodia, to increase the number of students of Khmer origin studying in the country.

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Caribbean and Americas Winners Runners Up

Antigua and Barbuda flagAntigua and Barbuda

Barbados flagBarbados

Canada flagCanada

Dominica flagDominica

Grenada flagGrenada

Guyana flagGuyana

Jamaica flagJamaica

Saint Lucia flagSaint Lucia

St. Kitts and Nevis flagSt. Kitts and Nevis

Trinidad and Tobago flagTrinidad and Tobago

Lia Nicholson

Lia wants to protect her local environment and works with government and communities alike to address climate change. She is involved in climate change negotiations on an international scale and liaises with the Department of Environment in Antigua and Barbuda on legislative issues. Lia also supports organisations that are working to implement climate change solutions into the community, by helping them to develop research and evidence to secure funding. In addition, Lia leads field trips and workshops, and visits schools to talk about the environment. Her next goal is to create a network spanning all Caribbean islands that enables communities to work together and share innovative approaches towards protecting the environment and addressing climate change.

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Jamilla Sealy

Jamilla is working to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the environment and is a member of the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN). As well as teaching environmental science to children aged 11 to 19, she coordinates projects such as consultations with the community on climate change and beach clean-ups. As a result of her management of the International Coastal Clean Up initiative in Barbados, in 2016 she participated in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. She now plans to create a map of Barbados which highlights illegal dumpsites. The map will be interactive and accessible via a website and phone app to enable community members to come together for local clean-ups and to take pride in the area they live in.

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Alexander Deans

Alexander is an inventor who is using technology to help empower young people. He invented iAid, a navigation device which uses sonar technology to help those with visual impairments move around. After creating the iAid, Alexander worked with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and the Foundation Fighting Blindness to share his story with 160,000 students across Canada, challenging them to use technology. Alexander’s latest initiative is Operation Reach, a program for Aboriginal young people which encourages them to expand their horizons through technology. Its pilot programme connected a First Nations school on Walpole Island reserve with a school in Windsor, Ontario, through robotics and technology workshops. Alexander would now like to expand it to more Aboriginal schools.

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Kevin Vuong

Kevin wants to see communities in Canada prosper and is committed to helping reduce unemployment. He is a co-founder of the Public Accessory Commission which supports pre-apprentices to create accessories for public and private spaces. Its Cycle Home project, for example, enables local citizens to co-design bike racks to become pieces of functional art that celebrate the heritage and values of the community. The bike racks are built by unemployed people, to provide them with job opportunities and to help enable them to break the cycle of poverty. Kevin now plans to expand the organisation across Canada.

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Eber Ravariere

Eber creates opportunities for young people through agriculture. He is the President of a youth co-operative which he represents at workshops and seminars throughout Dominica. He sets the co-operative’s strategy and develops its policies, and his team of seven plan community projects and provide necessary planting materials for young farmers. It is currently establishing a natural herbs, spices and seasonings nursery that will serve as a seedling outlet for farmers and is also constructing a roots and tubers nursery, which will be used to provide training. Eber additionally works to raise awareness about the importance of food security in Dominica.

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Rianna Patterson

Rianna is dedicated to helping ease the impact dementia has on individuals and families. She established Dominica Dementia specifically to help families who have a member living with the condition. It holds support groups to enable people to speak openly about the challenges they face in caring for people with dementia, and to share advice. Dominica Dementia also provides funding to families and works to educate the wider community about dementia. In addition, Rianna is the President of Age 4 Change youth group, which provides services for elderly people in the community, including home visits and house maintenance. She was  also an orientation leader for Dominica State College, where she assisted students during registration and offered advice to newcomers and their parents.

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Michael Thomas

Michael is a champion of diversity and inclusivity in Grenada. He began working for GrenChap, a non-governmental organisation which promotes sexual health and human rights, nine years ago as a peer educator. He is now its co-director. A focus for GrenChap is raising awareness about Sexual and Reproductive health rights and it uses training and social media as tools to change behaviour and attitudes. Its Love Without Fear Project, for example, uses social media to promote anti-stigma and non-discrimination. Michael is also studying for a degree in psychology and serves as copresident of his university’s LGBTI+ student organisation.

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Samantha Sheoprashad

Samantha helps disadvantaged communities and is working to reduce suicide rates in Guyana. She is the President of Enterprise Youth Development Group (EYDG), which runs several initiatives including providing clothes and food to low income families, organising Christmas parties for children living in orphanages and offering community computer classes. Under Samantha’s leadership, EYDG also ran a suicide prevention project, which offered support to people at risk. She has recently completed the research thesis ‘Identifying depression from social media content’ and created an algorithm which processes natural language to detect ‘depressive statements’ in social media posts. She hopes this system will be applied to help to prevent people in Guyana from taking their own lives.

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Abrahim Simmonds

Abrahim uses the arts to help develop the skills of young people, having co-created the Jamaican Youth Empowerment through Culture, Arts and Nationalism (JAYECAN) group. Under his leadership, the group helps young people to identify a skill or talent that they can use to help the community and creates programmes which use the arts to drive positive changes. These include ArtReach, where volunteers visit children homes and rehabilitation centres to provide music, art and drama sessions; and Herstory, which encourages young women from disadvantaged communities to use the spoken word and writing to help them to explore their past.

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Ajani Lebourne

Ajani works to empower students to ensure that their interests are represented at a local and national level. He re-established and now leads the Saint Lucia National Students’ Council, where he collaborated with the Ministry of Education to launch the first National Students Forum to provided student leaders with the opportunity to share ideas and express their views on education policy. Ajani also carries out school visits where he leads assemblies and meets with student councils to discuss their work. In 2016 he spearheaded a Leadership Symposium for student councils, which enabled 50 students to learn about democracy and public speaking. He now hopes to create a National Students’ Centre which would become a headquarters for the Saint Lucia National Students’ Council.

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Dion Browne

Dion is committed to bringing out the best in young people by working to address anti-social behaviour in the community. He is the founder of Spotlight Inc, which helps young people aged 12 to 25 to nurture their talents. Until recently, he was also the President of the St Kitts Basseterre Leo Club youth group, and partook in a number of its projects including a tutoring programme at a children’s home, a mentorship programme at a hospital and a campaign to encourage sexual health. Dion is currently implementing the Boys Mentorship Programme, which matches teenage boys with positive role models in the community. He now intends to create a leadership ambassadors’ project, which will develop leadership skills in young people in secondary schools.

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Matthew Batson

Matthew works in the field of mental health and is committed to helping and serving his community. He works on the Safe Space programme, which offers peer support and group therapy sessions at the University of The West Indies. The group is open for anyone to attend, but particularly supports people interested in discussing issues relating to sexuality and gender. Matthew also co-founded Yellow Pebble, a youth and mental health organisation which provides guidance to clinical psychology students. He is currently setting up a digital magazine called The Voice.

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Siddel Ramkissoon

Siddel is dedicated to empowering young people. In 2010, aged 16, he founded Overall Youth Empowerment and Action (OYEA) to encourage his peers to help out in the community. OYEA provides volunteering opportunities for young people which primarily focus on improving the environment, for example via tree planting initiatives and recycling programmes. Siddel and his team hosted the first youth-led Green Expo in San Fernando, which raised awareness about and encouraged environmentally friendly practices. Siddel is currently trying to set up a partnership across Trinidad and Tobago which will allow him to support social entrepreneurship in the community.

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Amy Bourque

Amy works to tackle social injustices in her community and beyond. During a nine month internship with World Vision Canada she spoke at schools across the country about topics ranging from global hunger to the importance of girls’ education. She has also organised justice conferences in cities across the country, to gather people to discuss these issues and assess how they can make an impact. In her local community Amy mentors girls aged 11 to 18 and volunteers with an anti-human trafficking organisation called CHILL. She is also part of a start-up organisation called Love Generation, which is working towards opening a youth drop-in centre in Calgary.

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Hayley Todesco

Hayley works to find solutions to environmental problems. She has pioneered the use of sand filters to clean tailings ponds, which are large pits filled with the toxic by-products produced when extracting oil in northern Alberta. The waste can affect wildlife and groundwater and has been linked to health problems. To achieve this, Hayley spent two years designing an inexpensive set of bioreactors which would be capable of biodegrading the toxic acids, using the resilient bacteria that already live in the ponds. Her invention has won a number of prizes, including one from the 2014 Google Science Fair. Hayley has spoken at youth conferences about her work to encourage others to solve local environmental issues.

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Ibrahim Musa

Ibrahim is helping refugees and other children who face disadvantage. In 2015, he founded the Cuts For Kids Foundation, a non-profit organisation that provides free haircuts to children from low-income families in Ottawa. Ibrahim and a group of volunteers have since hosted events in a number of communities and partnered with local barbershops, hair salons and hairdressing schools to provide haircuts to more than 100 children. Cuts For Kids Foundation now has six members of staff and more than 50 volunteers. Ibrahim also spends his time volunteering Arabic translation services for Syrian refugee children with developmental and language learning disabilities.

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Leanne Prendergast

Leanne is the co-founder of LOL – Love Our Lives and works to support girls and women who have experienced bullying in school, relationships or the workplace. The organisation provides methods to deal with bullying and focuses on creating safer spaces for girls to thrive in. Along with her sister, she published a self-help book called Getting to Know Me which helps readers to understand bullying from a child’s perspective. Leanne is currently working on a number of initiatives for girls and young women, including one called the A.R.T. Room (Artistic Revolutionary Thinkers) which encourages peer mentorship among school students though the use of art.

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Moiz Hafeez

Moiz works to increase community engagement, particularly among the student population. He is the co-founder of the Student Refugee Initiative (SRI), which organises awareness and fundraising activities for global humanitarian crises. As the chairman of the organisation, Moiz has helped to establish chapters of the group in other Canadian universities. He has also served as the vice president of Genetic Jungle Run: Rare Genomics Institute, which raises funds for research into cures for children suffering from rare genetic disorders, and as the director of external affairs for the Muslim Students’ Association.

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Simei (Amy) Li

Amy works to raise awareness of mental health and is the co-founder of Outrun the Stigma, the largest student-led mental health awareness organisation in Canada. In the last four years, the organisation has brought together more than 1,600 participants to raise over $44,000 for local mental health services. It also has an online story sharing platform. As executive director, Amy is responsible for creating a strategic plan, recruiting board members, and gathering students who share interests in mental health. The organisation is now in three different cities and Amy’s plan is to grow its reach across Canada.

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Nyus Alfred

Nyus champions the positive role that sport plays in education. He is the co-founder and director of Sporte Avis, which he set up in order to increase exposure for young athletes in St Lucia and across the Eastern Caribbean. Together with his team, Nyus promotes sports via television, radio, print and social media. He also runs school activities and projects to develop sport within the community, to encourage people to include sport as part of their everyday life. Nyus now wants to undertake a project to help athletes to further their education through their sporting ability, by helping them prepare for exams and assisting them to apply for university scholarships.

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Xuxa Garroden

Xuxa is dedicated to helping disadvantaged families in her community to access food and clothing. She is the founder of the WeDrive Foundation, which facilitates projects supporting the people of Sandy Point through clothing drives and meal programmes to assist low income families. WeDrive’s most significant project is #BreakfastInSchools – which provides free breakfasts to schoolchildren from low income families. Xuxa hopes to continue to address child hunger and food security in her country.

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Jonathan Bhagan

Jonathan is committed to helping people with autism gain access to employment. He was appointed to the first Parliamentary Autism Commission and is an ambassador for the government’s Disability Confident campaign, where he has produced a number of reports about the healthcare needs of autistic people and employment rates. Jonathan is also a trustee and Council chairman for the charity Ambitious about Autism and has helped to design its Employ Autism campaign. As a future trainee solicitor, Jonathan is an ambassador for Aspiring Solicitors, which helps to mentor those from non-traditional backgrounds in order to help them to enter the profession. He is Mind’s Equality Improvement Champion and has worked with a number of social mobility organisations to improve fair access to the professions.

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Europe Winners Runners Up

Eman Borg

Eman is dedicated to supporting the LGBTI+ community, and to giving young people a stronger voice. He is the founder of the first LGBTI+ group on the island of Gozo. Under his leadership, LGBTI+ Gozo holds educational sessions, organises social events and works to create links with other organisations in Malta. It hosts a monthly youth club in order to provide a safe environment in which LGBTI+ teenagers can meet. In future, Eman hopes to be able to open a permanent youth hub where young people can spend time. He is also planning to organise a diversity march to celebrate LGBTI+ Gozo’s second year anniversary. In addition, Eman is the Vice-President of the Gozo Youth Council, which seeks to give young people a greater say in their community. He has already helped members draft 60 proposals on changes they want to see on the island.

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Vladyslava Kravchenko

As a Paralympic swimmer herself, Vladyslava is a passionate ambassador for disability sports. In Malta, she has been part of the National Paralympic Swimming Team since 2013, whilst continuing to maintain her job at PwC Malta. In 2016 she became the first female swimmer to represent her country at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Vladyslava is now a Youth Ambassador for the Paralympic Movement in Europe and works to raise awareness of para-sport in the community, encouraging greater grassroots participation, and inspiring young athletes to continue their training to an elite level. Vladyslava is also an ambassador for the Malta Be Active campaign through which she visits schools to talk about her sport and to encourage others to get involved.

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Alex Holmes

Alex is an active campaigner for the ending of bullying in schools, after having being bullied himself as a child. He is the founder of Anti-Bullying Ambassadors, a programme which trains young people in schools to support each other and champion the issue of anti-bullying. Since its inception 10 years ago, it has trained more than 20,000 Anti-Bullying Ambassadors in schools and communities across the UK and Ireland. Alex’s work has attracted government funding and the support of charities, including the Diana Award, and companies such as Facebook. Alex now sits on a number of bullying advisory boards, and helps to organise Anti-Bullying Week in the UK. He has also set up a programme called Coz I Can, which supports young people to make a difference in their community. In future, Alex would like to introduce ‘happiness training’ into schools, organisations and workplaces through his idea of Smile and Compliment days.

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Usman Ali

Usman works to improve social-economic opportunities for people and to support those who are being bullied. He is a committed public servant who has worked as an adviser within the political, public and third sectors. As youth lead of a Muslim Police Association, Usman organised a residential programme where 30 young people participated in workshops, heard from guest speakers and improved their CV and interview techniques. As Chairperson of Trade Union Youth Committees, Usman created ‘the employment journey’ model to strengthen public policy. In this role, he established a legacy plan which includes taking Unions into Mosques and establishing an academy for future young leaders. He also works to tackle bullying in schools and workplaces building upon the Tackling Bullying in Scottish Schools Campaign which he founded in June 2010. Usman was elected as the first Scot from a Muslim or Asian background to be Scotland’s 77th Chairperson of the Scottish Trade Union Congress Youth Committee. In 2014, Usman was appointed as a Commonwealth Youth Lead; a fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society; and a UK Young Leader by the U.S Ambassador to the UK.

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Hannah Larkin

Hannah works to improve the lives of young people with cancer. She is the founder of Butterfly Giving, a charity which supports cancer sufferers aged between 11 and 24. The charity runs three initiatives: The Sunshine Project, which sends surprise boxes of treats to patients; Bags of Sunshine, which delivers essential toiletries to patients who are unexpectedly admitted to hospital; and Sibling Arts & Crafts Boxes, for patients’ younger siblings. Butterfly Giving also runs the ‘Boobs & Boxers Campaign’, which seeks to dispel myths surrounding breast and testicular cancer. In addition, Hannah is working towards setting up Project Holiday Retreat, which aims to provide patients with a break in the UK.

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Jade Chapman

Jade promotes sign language and aims to raise greater awareness of teaching it in schools. She set up a campaign called Let Sign Shine, which encourages people to learn the basics of British Sign Language in order to help alleviate loneliness and isolation in the deaf community. After winning the Bernard Matthews Youth Award education category in 2014, Jade used the prize money to fund a free introductory British Sign Language course at her former school. The course was so successful the school went on to run a second one. Jade continues to raise awareness of the issue via interviews, social media and school presentations and hopes to create a more inclusive society.

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Jonathan Andrews

Jonathan is committed to helping people with autism gain access to employment. He was appointed to the first Parliamentary Autism Commission and is an ambassador for the government’s Disability Confident campaign, where he has produced a number of reports about the healthcare needs of autistic people and employment rates. Jonathan is also a trustee and Council chairman for the charity Ambitious about Autism and has helped to design its Employ Autism campaign. As a future trainee solicitor, Jonathan is an ambassador for Aspiring Solicitors, which helps to mentor those from non-traditional backgrounds in order to help them to enter the profession. He is Mind’s Equality Improvement Champion and has worked with a number of social mobility organisations to improve fair access to the professions.

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Stuart Russell

Stuart is the founder of Arts In Fife and uses arts and the media to connect young people. He produces a number of podcasts, including one which provides a platform for local artists to share their work and another called Earth, which enables him to speak to a global network of young people to share their work and to talk about environmental issues and politics. He also supports the LGBTI+ community in Fife and produced a film for the BBC which focused on the lack of visible LGBTI+ culture in the area. This helped to launch the creation of the first Fife Pride event.

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Pacific Winners Runners Up

Abdullahi Alim

Abdullahi is dedicated to countering violent extremism amongst youth through awareness raising and online outreach. He is also leading initiatives to increase economic and employment opportunities amongst young people. Abdullahi is the director of MyHack, a peer-to-peer project which challenges young Australians to create technologies and social media campaigns to curb the threat of violent extremism. In addition, he has organised international conferences, youth forums and podcasts to raise awareness about the issue. Abdullahi is also the curator of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community in Perth, and has worked together with colleagues to develop two programmes in the city: Perth SOUP, a monthly crowd-funding dinner where social entrepreneurs pitch for funding for their ventures, and Project Connect, which provides university students with internship opportunities in not-for-profit organisations. In future, Abdullahi hopes to create local hubs that can be used by young people to help tackle extremism in their respective communities.

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Jordan O’Reilly

Jordan is committed to giving disabled people the best chance in life. After seeing the struggles his disabled brother had trying to find work, Jordan and his sister founded Fighting Chance. The organisation offers stimulating, challenging work-experience and employment for 140 disabled people at two offices in Sydney. Jordan and his sister also launched Hireup, a social benefit business and online platform that gives people living with disabilities the power to find, hire and manage their own home care and support workers. More than 4,000 people have already signed up to the platform. Jordan now plans to launch the next Fighting Chance hubs in other areas of Australia.

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Madeleine Buchner

Madeleine is committed to supporting young people acting as family carers across Australia. Using her own experiences as a young carer, Madeleine set up Little Dreamers Australia. The charity supports young people who are caring for parents or siblings with a chronic illness, mental illness, disability or drug/ alcohol addiction. Madeleine manages a team of 15 volunteers and, through a range of initiatives, has helped more than 1,000 young carers. She also created the first VIC Young Carers Festival in Australia, which has been running for three years and aims to improve connections between young carers, in order to increase the support they receive and reduce the potential for mental health problems.

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Ashleigh Smith

Ashleigh is dedicated to reducing the problem of online bullying. She is co-leader and vice chair of the board for Sticks n Stones (SnS), an organisation that focuses on positive action to avert the risk of cyber-bullying and aggressive online behaviour. She is also chair of her local SnS division, where she organises and hosts events for both young people and parents about online life and social media. In addition, she mentors young people in schools throughout Central Otago and Dunedin, helping students to run workshops about bullying and mental health. Ashleigh is currently working with the Government to help inform their policy-making on bullying and social media. SnS now has 300 young volunteers, and Ashleigh hopes to be able to expand the initiative to every school in New Zealand. She is also studying to become a nurse, and plans to use her future career as an ongoing platform through which to raise awareness of bullying, suicide and mental health.

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Johnetta Lili

Johnetta works to raise awareness of the rights of young people in her community. In 2014 she joined Equal Playing Field, which aims to decrease violence and encourage gender equality. As its site manager, she was responsible for leading 20 volunteers from the University of Papua New Guinea, who used sport to promote gender equality to more than 300 students. She went on to co-found the Carteret Campaign (now The Climate Change Campaign), which works to help people affected by climate change from the Carteret Islands. In addition to raising awareness about climate change, the group runs a book drive for children at schools in the islands. Johnetta was recently awarded a Kokoda Track Foundation leadership scholarship. She is now planning to implement a project in Port Moresby to raise awareness of cancer treatment and prevention.

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Theresa Gizoria

Theresa is dedicated to increasing opportunities for young people, and, in particular, to helping young mothers in tertiary education. She is the founder of UniMums where, together with four others, she supports young mothers at the University of Papua New Guinea. The group provides a mentoring scheme for young mothers, as well as monthly workshops during which they share health tips, teach budgeting skills and hold relaxation sessions. Theresa now hopes to build UniMums’ capacity and expand it to five other national universities. She also volunteers with Advancing PNG Women Leaders Network, Women Arise PNG, Australia-PNG Emerging Leaders Network and the Kokoda Track Foundation. She uses these platforms to ensure the voices of young people are taken into account in the political decisionmaking process.

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Karrie Jionisi

Karrie works to provide professional skills and further educational opportunities for young people, many of whom have left school early. She helped to form a group called Girls for Change, which supports unemployed girls and single mothers in her community learn new skills to help them find jobs. Karrie also works as a facilitator for the Digital Storytelling Project, which encourages young women to tell their stories using different forms of media. She volunteers for the Honiara City Council Youth Division and helps organise its annual International Youth Day. She is currently working on a project called Back to School to support early school leavers in continuing with their education.

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Elizabeth Kite

Elizabeth leads educational initiatives for young people and disabled people in Tonga. She is the co-host of a radio programme led by The Talitha Project, which aims to help young women and girls make wise and informed life decisions on issues such as reproductive health. The show provides a safe platform for listeners to voice their opinions anonymously, and cites and celebrates the achievements of young people who have contributed to their communities. Since 2012, Elizabeth has also volunteered at The Mango Tree Centre for the Disabled, which provides rehabilitative therapy, education and vocational training to disabled Tongans. She currently teaches a braille class to students who are visually impaired.

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Rena Ou Yang

Rena is interested in education, gender equality and poverty alleviation. She helped to create a non-profit organisation called Empowered Together, which aims to educate secondary school students about sexual assault. Rena is currently the Chief Executive of the organisation and leads a team of 20 volunteers. The group has worked with hundreds of students and stakeholders through workshops and also engages with the wider community through addressing public meetings and an online presence. Rena now hopes to expand Empowered Together in Australia and internationally. She is also a board member of the Doctus Project, a non-profit online journalism organisation that is committed to provoking informed debate about health.

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Robert Gillies

Robert is a social entrepreneur who works on issues of homelessness, poverty reduction and the self-determination of indigenous communities. He is the founder of a number of charities, including the Yarra Swim Co, which is building Australia’s first ‘urban pool’ in the Yarra River and leading the push for cleaner water, and Maningirda Remote Outreach, which runs volunteer trips for university students  to remote indigenous communities. He is also the founder of the HoMie Street Store in Melbourne. Since opening its doors in 2015, Robert and his team have distributed more than 3,500 items of clothing to the homeless community, trained and employed six homeless young people as retail workers and hosted more than 20 ‘VIP Shopping Days’ for people they support.

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Alex Bengree

Alex works to support young people living with anxiety and depression. She is the founder of Te Whare Hauora Tautoko Rangatahi (The House that Supports Youth), which provides a safe space for young people to discuss mental health issues. She is also an executive member of her local Youth Council, where she speaks on behalf of young people in the city and runs projects to address community needs. These include an annual Ball 4 All, which was created to enable disabled young people to attend a school ball where their needs are accounted for.

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Loren Skudder-Hill

Loren promotes healthy living in New Zealand. She is the founder of Ukuda, which supports young people to advocate for change. Over the last three years she has led a team of young people who are dedicated to supporting their peers in improving the health of the community. Through Ukuda, Loren organises conferences, a mentoring project, an ambassador programme and an awards initiative. She is also the president of the Rotorua Junior Chamber of Commerce and has helped to implement strategies for solving youth unemployment. Loren has also published a cookbook to raise funds for KidsCan, a charity which supports children living in poverty.

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Kasek Galgal

Kasek champions the use of technology to help inform, engage and connect young people living in remote parts of Papua New Guinea. During his studies, Kasek became aware of how little access to information people living in isolated communities had. He now works at a local and regional level to promote Internet access in the country. He is a board member of the Pacific Islands Chapter of the Internet Society and a founding member of TEDx Port Moresby. As more Pacific Islanders become connected by the Internet, Kasek wants to create relevant local online content to help them find information about issues such as access to financial services, legal rights, trade and education.

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