Three young people from Nigeria are among 60 young people from across the Commonwealth who are being recognised as exceptional leaders in their community, it was announced yesterday . These 60 young people will receive a prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award.
The Award, which will be presented in London by Her Majesty The Queen in 2016, 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.
Nigeria’s 23-year-old Imrana Alhaji Buba has been selected for the Generation Change Fellowship of the United States Institute of Peace and was also inducted into the Global Alliance for Youth Leaders. Imrana is the founder of an organisation which encourages peace building. Since 2010 he has partnered with local groups to visit surrounding villages to carry out community building and youth education programmes. His organisation now has more than 600 members. Imrana also offers training for unemployed young people. He offers training for unemployed young people to help them channel their potential in order to maximise the community building work he has carried out.
Twenty-three-year old Olanrewaju Adeloye, also from Nigeria, has always had an interest in health care and went to university to study medical physiology. Three years later he worked as an intern at a small primary health centre, in a deprived area, which served over 12,000 pregnant mothers and newborns a month. As a result of this experience he co-founded SaferMom; a startup which uses low cost mobile technologies (SMS, voice services and apps) to engage mothers with health information through pregnancy and their baby’s early years. More than 900 women in nine rural communities now use this service.
Olumide Femi Makanjuola, 28, has been working for almost a decade in the LGBTI+ sphere. His work includes offering sexual health and human rights education and services to LGBTI+ persons in Nigeria. In 2013 he helped produce a documentary on the impact of the same sex marriage prohibition law on LGBTI+ persons called Veil of Silence, which has been screened in over 14 countries. Olumide has spoken about his work at the European Union Parliament, European Asylum Support Office, the World Pride Human Rights Conference and other related forums.
The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme was established in 2014 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 three years the Programme will support thousands of young people to achieve their goals.
Dr Astrid Bonfield, Chief Executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust said: “Once again 60 incredible young people from around the Commonwealth have shown strength, leadership, empathy and drive. Some of our winners are just embarking on their leadership journey and others are more established. Either way, we recognise not only what these amazing young people have achieved, but also their potential in changing people’s lives for the better in the countries and communities in which they live.”
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. This year’s Award winners are aged between 18 and 29 and 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.
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.

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