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4 Nigerians bag Queen’s young leaders awards

Nigeria, with four winners top the list of the inaugural Queen’s young leaders awards.

Isaiah Owolabi, Kelvin Ogholi, Nkechikwu Azinge and Oladipupo Ajiroba made the list from Nigeria.

Canada, India, Cameroon and South Africa have three winners each.

Her Majesty, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary will present the inaugural Queen’s Young Leaders Awards to exceptional young people from across the Commonwealth, at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 22nd June.

The award winners, aged 18-29, have been recognised by The Queen for taking the lead in transforming the lives of others and making a lasting difference in their communities.

The winners will receive a unique package of training, mentoring and networking, including a one-week residential programme in the UK in association with Cabridge University. Before receiving their awards at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, they will meet Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street. They will then visit the UK headquarters of global social networking company Twitter and meet with senior executives at the BBC World Service.

With this support, award winners will be expected to continue and develop the amazing work they are already doing in their communities to raise awareness and inspire change in areas of education, climate change, gender equality, mental health and disability equality.

Dr Astrd Bonfield, Chief Executive of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust said: “We are very much looking forward to welcoming the first Queen’s Young Leaders to London on 22nd, for may of whom it will be their first visit to the UK. It will be such an honour to witness these exceptional young people receiving their awards from Her Majesty The Queen for their incredible work in their countries and across the Commonwealth.”

The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme is an 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.

The awards were launched by The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, who used social media to help spread the message that #TheSearchIsOn, calling on young people from across the Commonwealth to apply, or be nominated for the opportunity to become a Queen’s Young Leader.

Profiles of the winners from Nigeria

Isaiah Owolabi
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.

Kelvin Ogholi
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 Azinge
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.

Oladipupo Ajiroba
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.

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