Mirnalini Dayal of ‘Health Over Stigma’ and Yogesh Kumar of ‘Even Cargo’ have been chosen for the Commonwealth Youth Awards 2018 for their work in tackling gender discrimination. Dayal and Kumar were among 20 finalists shortlisted from across 53 member-countries.

Both are from the national capital. Their work to improve gender equality as an essential Sustainable Development Goal number 5 of the United Nations led to them win the award.

“The awards recognise outstanding young people aged 15 to 29 whose innovative projects and programmes have had a significant impact on their communities,” a Commonwealth Youth Programme statement said.

“This year’s focus is on celebrating young people’s contribution towards a fairer, more sustainable, more secure and more prosperous future for the Commonwealth: the four sub-themes of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) taking place in London in April,” the statement said.

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Dayal’s Health Over Stigma promotes awareness about accessing sexual health services so women feel secure enough to seek out reproductive health facilities in India. On the other hand, Kumar’s Even Cargo provides employment to women in the courier industry. How many of us have seen delivery girls instead of boys? It equips women with skills, training to drive vehicle, self-defence and logistics.

“The finalists this year have initiatives and projects that aim to build a more secure, prosperous, fairer and a sustainable future for all in the grassroots levels and exemplify the outstanding contribution of young people from across the Commonwealth in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and realising the CHOGM 2018 aspiration ‘Towards a Common Future'”

The programme received as many as 400 applications from around the world. The 20 finalists are from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas, Europe, and the Pacific. It will select Regional Young Persons of the Year from the pool of 20 finalists and one extraordinary participant will receive the overall Commonwealth Young Person of the Year during the Commonwealth Youth Forum in London, which will coincide with CHOGM next month.

The finalists will get $1,000 to continue with their work and an award and a certificate to acknowledge their contribution by the Commonwealth Youth Programme. However, the Regional Person of the year will receive $3,000 and the Commonwealth Young Person of the year will get a sum of $5,000.

“The finalists this year have initiatives and projects that aim to build a more secure, prosperous, fairer and a sustainable future for all in the grassroots levels and exemplify the outstanding contribution of young people from across the Commonwealth in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and realising the CHOGM 2018 aspiration ‘Towards a Common Future’,” the programme said.

The jury that zeroed in on the finalists comprise the High Commissioner for Saint Kitts and Nevis, representatives from the High Commissions of Fiji, Malaysia, and Kenya, a trustee of the British Youth Council and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum.

PM Narendra Modi will attend the CHOGM along with heads of government from across the Commonwealth membership on April 19-20. It will also include the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) elections.

Picture credit- Hindustan Times

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