World news story

UK congratulates Zambia’s winners of Queen’s Young Leaders Award

British High Commissioner James Thornton has congratulated Regina Mtonga and Brighton Kaoma, recipients of the Queen's Young Leaders Award.

Queen's Young Leaders send off event
Queen's Young Leaders send off event

The two Zambians are among 60 young people from across the Commonwealth to be awarded by Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace in June 2015.

The Queen’s Young Leaders award is part of The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme aimed at identifying, mentoring and celebrating the achievements of young people who are taking the lead to transform the lives of others and make a lasting difference in their communities.

British High Commissioner, James Thornton, said:

“I congratulate Regina and Brighton on their recognition for their achievements and leadership skills. We are looking forward to seeing many more talented young Zambians achieving their dreams through this Programme. I am confident that the two will use their leadership skills to inspire positive change on many issues affecting Zambia.”

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.

Further details

• Regina is co-founder of Asikana Network, an organisation that trains Zambian girls and young women in information and communications technology skills, so that they can find better jobs and realise their potential. Regina is planning to link Network members to mentors in order to develop their skills further in the future. She is a recipient of the 2014 SETAfrica award and has had training in several IT sectors including website and software development. Discovering a recent passion for entrepreneurship, she is currently pursuing a Bsc in Business Computing. Regina is also a 2015 Skoll Young Leader and 2015 Queens Young Leader award recipient. She hopes to spark an interest in STEM careers for all women in Zambia and eventually have Asikana Network a fully functional school club in order to support all the young women who are interested in STEM, especially IT.

•Brighton is a second year student at the University of Zambia pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Education. He became a UNICEF Child Climate Ambassador in 2010. He has been instrumental in starting Unite4Climate and other environmental clubs in surrounding schools in Kitwe district. He also mobilized other climate ambassadors to plant 500 trees in schools as well as undertake clean up campaigns and recycling.

Brighton also presented a weekly programme on Radio Icengelo in Kitwe between 2011 and 2013 discussing climate change issues and HIV prevention. He was in 2011 trained as a Facilitator under a programme between UNICEF Zambia and the Children’s Radio Foundation (CRF) to train children in radio and other media productions so that they could speak out on issues that affect them.

• 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.

• For a copy of a short film introducing the partnership and the Awards scheme please click on this link

The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme

The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, in partnership with Comic Relief and The Royal Commonwealth Society, has established The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme in honour of Her Majesty The Queen’s 60 years of service to the Commonwealth at the time of her Diamond Jubilee. Guided by the values of the Commonwealth Charter, the goal of the Programme is to enable young people to step up as leaders and improve the lives of people across the Commonwealth.

• 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.

Award details

Each year from 2014 to 2018, 60 exceptional young people will be selected to receive a Queen’s Young Leaders Award and become ‘Queen’s Young Leaders’ – one for every year that The Queen had served as Head of the Commonwealth at the time of her Diamond Jubilee.

As part of the Award, winners will receive bespoke mentoring and online learning provided by the University of Cambridge. Award winners will attend a week-long residential programme in the UK in June, when they will receive their Award at Buckingham Palace from Her Majesty The Queen.

The Partners

The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust

The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust is a charitable foundation, established in 2012, to mark and celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s 60-year contribution to the Commonwealth. The Trust has received donations from governments, corporate partners, trusts, foundations, community groups and individuals from across the Commonwealth, and its programmes work in alliance towards eliminating avoidable blindness and to empower a new generation of young leaders. With a five-year timeframe in which to deliver successful programmes, the Trust’s aim is to leave a lasting legacy, owned by the whole Commonwealth, to honour Her Majesty The Queen. For more information go to The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust website   ##Comic Relief

Established in 1985, Comic Relief is a major UK fundraising and grant making charity which uses the power of entertainment to create long-lasting change. Its vision is a just world, free from poverty. It strives to make this vision a reality by supporting poor, disadvantages and vulnerable people in the UK and across some of the world’s poorest communities to change their own lives for the better. Discover more at Comic Relief

Royal Commonwealth Society

The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS), founded in 1868, is a network of individuals and organisations committed to improving the lives and prospects of Commonwealth citizens across the world. Working through a range of educational, civil society, business and governmental networks, the RCS addresses issues that matter to the Commonwealth citizens. For more information go to the RCS website

For more information contact:

Tresford Mumba at the British High Commission on +260 211 423200 or Jennie Farrell, Comic Relief Senior Media Officer - 0207 820 2500 email:

Published 12 June 2015