A Nigerian, Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, has made the list of the 2019 Commonwealth Youth Awards.
The founder of ‘Stand to End Rape,’ an initiative which promotes awareness about violence against girls and women through prevention, policy advocacy and support for victims, Oluwaseun will be competing with sixteen other promising innovators, entrepreneurs and social activists from across the globe.
According to the Commonwealth Secretariat, the 2019 awards received five hundred nominations from 45 countries. Four regional Young Persons of the Year will be selected from those shortlisted and one exceptional individual will be chosen as the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2019.
A graduate of Development Studies from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Oluwaseun also holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations with specialization in Gender Studies from Swansea University, United Kingdom.
Through the advocacy of ‘Stand to End Rape’ initiative, over 200,000 people have been reached and provided pro bono medical, educational and empowerment, legal and mental health services.
Likewise, the initiative trains healthcare practitioners on sexual violence response mechanisms, donates HIV test kits to community health care centres, and developed an application for victims to map and contact police stations and healthcare centres.
The Nigerian anti-rape activist began her advocacy work as an intern at the United Nations Headquarters, New York and Half the Sky Movement where she wrote articles on girls, women, children and social justice. A 2015 fellow of the Vital Voices Women Lead Fellowship; Oluwaseun has also worked as a project manager for Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE).
The Commonwealth Youth Awards, among other aims, seeks to “recognise and celebrate the achievements of people aged 15 to 29 whose innovative projects are making a significant contribution to their communities and driving change in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals”.
Aside a £1,000 grant to up their development activities, shortlisted finalists will each be awarded a certificate and trophy. Each of the four Regional Young Person of the Year will also receive £3,000 and a total of £5,000 will be awarded to the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2019.
One Rwandan and two Ugandans will be competing with Oluwaseun who was nominated in the Africa and Europe region, to clinch the region’s top spot. The Awards ceremony is scheduled to hold on 13 March 2019 in London, UK.
Nigeria’s Omowumi Ogunrotimi of Gender Mobile was also nominated as a finalist in the same category in 2018.