60 young people from 35 countries were honoured by Queen Elizabeth II. The Nigerians on the list are: Isaiah Owolabi, Kelvin Ogholi, Nkechikwu Azinge and Oladipupo Ajiroba.
The Queen’s Young Leader Award recognises and celebrates exceptional people aged 18-29 from across the Commonwealth, who are taking the lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives.
Winners of this prestigious award will receive a unique package of training, mentoring and networking including a one-week residential programme in the UK during which they will collect their the Queen. With this support, award winners are expected to continue and develop the amazing work they are already doing in their communities.
Isaiah co-founded HACEY Health Initiative, which helps disadvantaged women and children to lead healthy lives. In 2012, HACEY launched Hands Up For Her, which promotes the rights of African girls. The award will help HACEY develop its Women’s Health and Productivity project, ensuring women in rural areas have access to health services and training.
After seeing livestock farmers – including his father – struggle to pay for feed, Kelvin co-founded UNFIRE. This social enterprise has found a way to produce poultry feeds from organic waste such as mango seeds, seaweeds etc. It costs half the price of normal feed, and so far it has helped more than 70 farmers.
Nkechikwu grew up with close family members who have the hereditary blood disorder, Sickle Cell Anaemia. After witnessing the physical, mental and emotional challenges it can lead to, she set up The Sickle Cell Aid Foundation. The organisation encourages people to get tested to know their haemoglobin genotype and has set up sickle cell clubs in schools to inform and educate young people about the condition.
Growing up with bronchitis made Oladipupo very conscious of pollution. He set up The Environmental Advocacy and Management Initiative, which has engaged more than 10,000 volunteers in campaigns and workshops. Oladipupo intends to use The Queen’s Young Leaders Award to encourage greater respect for the environment and to create green jobs.