Two Jamaicans shortlisted for top Commonwealth Youth Awards

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Two Jamaicans shortlisted for top Commonwealth Youth Awards

Saturday, February 22, 2020

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LONDON, United Kingdom (CMC) — Two Jamaicans are among three Caribbean nationals included in 16 contenders comprising innovators, activists and entrepreneurs from 12 countries who have been shortlisted for this year's Commonwealth Youth Awards.

A pan-Commonwealth judging panel met last week and selected the top individuals in each of the award's four regional categories with two Jamaicans and a Guyanese emerging from the Caribbean and Canada group.

The London-based Commonwealth Secretariat said that this year, the awards received more than 500 entries from 40 countries.

“Of those shortlisted, the top candidate from each region will be named as a regional winner. One of these four regional winners will become the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2020,” it said, adding that the 16 finalists will each receive a trophy, a certificate and 1,000 (One British pound=US$1.29 cents) to expand the scope of their projects.

The regional winners will each earn a trip to London to attend the awards ceremony on 11 March 2020 and will receive 3,000. The overall pan-Commonwealth winner will take home a total of 5,000.

According to the Commonwealth Secretariat, the three Caribbean winners are Lalita Gopaul from Guyana and Jamaicans Stephen McCubbin and Samuel Neil.

Gopaul is an environmental sustainability activist and researcher by profession. Her research work covers eco-friendly agricultural methods, clean energy solutions and green technologies which have been used in Guyana.

Her work has educated more than 100 farmers in the country to adopt more sustainable and environmentally-friendly farming methods to boost production and improve livelihoods in a changing climate. She is also the founder of 'Eco Club' which mentors young people on environmental education. The club also runs coastal clean-up activities, tree planting sessions and climate-action walks.

McCubbin is the founder of 'Cheer Sensation JA'; a youth non-profit which works to foster holistic development through the sport of cheerleading.

Through its cheerleading programmes and competitions, the organisation provides a safe space for children and adults to become physically active whilst working as a violence prevention tool in volatile communities in Jamaica. His work has enabled him to attract international cheerleading bodies to Jamaica to provide technical support to the organisation, further increasing awareness and support for the sport.

Neil is the founder of 'The Aviation Club of Jamaica'; a national initiative which encourages young people to enter the aviation sector.

The programme provides student members with scholarship opportunities and training programmes through its partnerships with training institutions. The programme has introduced hundreds of local young people to the world of aviation and supported many to go on to become qualified aviation professionals.

The Secretariat said that the judging panel included high commissioners, development experts and youth leaders from across the Commonwealth.

The awards recognise outstanding young people whose innovative projects have made a real impact in helping their countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

“Their talent paired with tangible solutions sends a strong signal that they should be equal partners in the development agenda, not passive allies,” said the head of social policy development at the Commonwealth, Layne Robinson.

“With now only 10 years remaining to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Commonwealth takes great pleasure in bringing these young people's invaluable efforts to the global stage so their leadership can inspire others and accelerate meaningful youth participation.”


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