Two Indian activists shortlisted for Commonwealth Youth Awards for work on gender equality
Two Indian activists have been named among 20 finalists from across 53 member-countries for the Commonwealth Youth Awards 2018 for their work in the field of gender equality.
Mirnalini Dayal has been recognised for her work as a campaign leader for ‘Health Over Stigma’ and Yogesh Kumar as the founder of social enterprise Even Cargo.
Both Delhi-based Indian finalists were singled out for their work in the field of achieving United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal No. 5 on gender equality.
“The awards recognise outstanding young people aged 15 to 29 whose innovative projects and programmes have had a significant impact on their communities,” a Commonwealth Youth Programme statement said.
“This year’s focus is on celebrating young people’s contribution towards a fairer, more sustainable, more secure and more prosperous future for the Commonwealth: the four sub-themes of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) taking place in London in April,” the statement said.
Dayal has been shortlisted for her efforts to challenge the stigma associated with accessing sexual health services and create a safe haven for women to seek out reproductive health facilities in India.
Through Health Over Stigma, she also supports women to gain the necessary skills to run advocacy campaigns and positively impact the lives of other women. The group claims to have successfully trained more than 450 young activists till date.
Kumar’s Even Cargo enterprise promotes gender equality through the employment of women couriers, which has traditionally been seen as a male profession in India.
His organisation works to overcome the barriers of unemployment through skill development of women, training female drivers in motorcycle driving, self-defence and logistics.
The 20 finalists this year span every region of the Commonwealth, including Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas, Europe, and the Pacific. They were shortlisted from more than 400 applications from across the globe.
Regional Young Persons of the Year will be selected from among the finalists, with one exceptional entrant being recognised as the overall Commonwealth Young Person of the Year during the Commonwealth Youth Forum in London, which will coincide with CHOGM next month.
In addition to a grant of 1,000 pounds to continue their development work, all finalists will be awarded a trophy and certificate.
The Regional Young Persons of the Year will receive 3,000 pounds, and the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year will pick up 5,000 pounds.
“The finalists this year have initiatives and projects that aim to build a more secure, prosperous, fairer and a sustainable future for all in the grassroots levels and exemplify the outstanding contribution of young people from across the Commonwealth in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and realising the CHOGM 2018 aspiration ‘Towards a Common Future’,” the programme said.
The Pan-Commonwealth adjudication panel for the overall winners of the 2018 awards, convened by the Commonwealth Secretariat, included the High Commissioner for Saint Kitts and Nevis, representatives from the High Commissions of Fiji, Malaysia, and Kenya, a trustee of the British Youth Council and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum.
CHOGM, to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with heads of government from across the Commonwealth membership on April 19-20, will also include the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) elections.
Among this year’s several nominees is one Indian, who is contesting the elections in the category of vice-president, Partnership & Resources.
Ravi Theja Muthu, from Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh, has declared his intention to strengthen existing partnerships if elected. The elections to the CYC’s executive will lead to the appointment of a new set of youth leaders for the 2018-2020 term until the next CHOGM.