The British High Commission announced on 13 January 2015 that Diana Nakaweesa (25) and Deo Sekandi (28) from Uganda were among 60 young people from across the Commonwealth who are being recognised as exceptional leaders in their community. These 60 young people are the first ever to receive a prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award.
The Award, which will be presented in London by Her Majesty The Queen in June, and is part of The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme, celebrates the achievements of young people who are taking the lead to transform the lives of others and make a lasting difference in their communities.
This year’s Award winners, aged between 18 and 29 and who come from all over the Commonwealth, are working to support others, raise awareness and inspire change on a variety of different issues including; education, climate change, gender equality, mental health and disability equality.
Aaron Hape, a member of the Advisory Panel of young people who advise the Queen’s Young Leaders Programme and from New Zealand said:
It was a truly humbling experience to see the kind of work that young people are carrying out across the Commonwealth, and across a diverse range of issues. As a panel member I feel very proud to have been given the opportunity to work with the Programme and be part of selecting the very best from an already amazing pool of talented young people.
The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme is a new initiative established by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust in partnership with Comic Relief and the Royal Commonwealth Society in recognition of The Queen’s lifetime of service to the Commonwealth. Over the next four years the Programme will support thousands of young people. In addition to the Queen’s Young Leaders Awards, the Programme will provide grants to support organisations in selected countries across the Commonwealth that work with young people to transform their lives.
Dr Astrid Bonfield CBE, Chief Executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust said:
The leadership of talented young people in all spheres of life can transform communities and societies for the better. What the 60 young people announced today have achieved is remarkable and their plans for the future are truly inspiring. The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme is poised to unlock the potential of this diverse and talented group of young people and we are delighted to be supporting them to go further and achieve more.
The Ugandan Award Winners
Diana Nakaweesa Age: 25
Since the age of 17, Diana has strived to help vulnerable women and children in her community. Three years ago she launched Young Mothers’ Support Group, which mentors women aged 14 to 30. She has gained funding for projects to train women and children in skills ranging from knitting to shoe making.
Deo Sekandi Age: 28
Deo did not know what was affecting his speech and mobility until he won a university scholarship and learnt that he had cerebral palsy. He now works for the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda and is very active in supporting young people with cerebral palsy. He aims to change negative attitudes towards disabled people.
To see a full list of Award winners and Highly Commended runners up, and read more about their stories please visit the Queen’s Young Leaders website.