14 June 2017

Uganda: Queen of England Recognises Three Young Ugandans

Photo: The Observer
One of the winners, Ruth Nabembezi, founder of Ask Without Shame.

Three young Ugandans are to receive the Queens Young Leaders Award from the Queen of England at Buckingham Palace in London on June 29. They are; 19-year-old Joel Baraka, Favourite Driciru, 27, and Ruth Nabembezi, 21.

The Award celebrates inspiring young people from all over the Commonwealth who are dedicated to driving change in their communities and beyond. "This year's award winners are being recognised by The Queen for their work to support refugees, young people to find employment, and promoting sexual health," reads a statement from the organisers.

FAVOURITE DRICIRU

Driciru is celebrated for supporting young people and women to find employment in Uganda through the provision of micro-credit lending and training in social enterprise.

She is credited for setting up Favourline Financial Solutions in 2014 after discovering that many young people in her community were unable to find jobs after finishing school.

Favourline has been able to help over 400 young people and women launch businesses in areas ranging from agricultural farms to retail shops among others.

JOEL BARAKA

A refugee himself from Democratic Republic of Congo, at the age of just 14 years, Baraka set a sports programme within Kyangwali refugee settlement in Uganda in a bid to tackle teenage pregnancies, drugs use and abuse, early and child marriages.

He also encouraged refugee children to attend school through promotion of educational games.

RUTH NABEMBEZI

Nabembezi is the founder of Ask Without Shame, a social enterprise providing a free and anonymous service in which medical experts answer sex education questions via a mobile phone android app, text messages and calls 24/7.

Since its launch in 2015, Ask Without Shame has responded to more than 35,000 questions from over 20,000 users.

The project recently won a grant to set up an information and call centre where they will be able to respond to over 1,000 users per day. The grant will also cover setting up a clinic where callers will be able to receive treatment and counselling.

The three young Ugandans will join winners from across the Commonwealth in the UK for a programme of inspiring meetings, networking opportunities and bespoke training and mentoring, all designed to help them to develop as leaders and work with ever greater impact to transform people's lives.

Speaking about her selection, Nabembezi said, "I'm delighted to receive the Queen's Young Leaders Award and believe it will help me to reach my vision of making sure no child has to die because of HIV in Africa."

The 2017 Queens Young Leaders Award winners have been selected from a group working to support others, raise awareness and inspire change on a variety of issues from tackling bullying in schools, to preserving the environment, to promoting gender equality.

From Africa, one winner has been selected from Botswana, three from Ghana, three from Kenya, one from Malawi, two from Namibia. Another two from Nigeria, two from Rwanda, one form Seychelles, two from Sierra Leone, three from South Africa; one from Swaziland and one from Zambia.

Before receiving their Queen's Young Leaders Award at Buckingham Palace, the winners will visit 10 Downing Street, as well as take part in master classes at the BBC World Service and the UK headquarters of global social media company, Facebook.

They will also meet the Commonwealth Secretary-General, take part in workshops at the University of Cambridge, meet senior executives from some of the UK's leading organizations and visit projects that are changing the lives of vulnerable people in the UK.

The programme will finish with the launch of the final ever search for the Queen's Young Leaders. Dr Astrid Bonfield CBE, chief executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust said: "The Queen's Young Leaders of 2017 are doing truly remarkable work within their communities. Their actions are having a positive impact not only on those around them but also by setting in motion positive change that will last for generations to come."

URN

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