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Commonwealth Youth Awards 2021 open for entries

Entry deadline: 21/10/2020 at 23:59 HRS GMT

Young people constitute more than 60% of the population of the Commonwealth; their empowerment is essential to the success of the Commonwealth and its member states. The Commonwealth works with youth leaders, member governments and other stakeholders to engage and empower young people and enhance their contribution to development. The work of the Commonwealth is anchored in the belief that empowered young people are assets to their societies. It is vital to ensure young people realise their individual potential and to recognise and nurture their ability to contribute to their countries’ development and the success of the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work 2021 aim to raise the profile of young people and highlight the contribution they are making towards developing a fairer, sustainable, peaceful, and prosperous future for the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Youth Awards give international, regional and national recognition and support to those young men and women who have demonstrated young peoples capacity and potential to make positive contributions to their communities, nations and the world at large. Young people are not passive beneficiaries of development and spectators to programmes and of policies that affect their development, but rather are integrally involved in the process of change as they continue to work side by side with decision-makers as key actors and stakeholders contributing to national development.

The young people who will receive this award should demonstrate measurable/tangible impact through their development work.

The main objectives of the Commonwealth Youth Awards are to:-

  • Highlight the contribution young people are making to promote the common goal of a future built on fairness, peace, prosperity and sustainability and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).

  • Acknowledge the outstanding contributions made by young people to overall development and democracy goals in the Commonwealth;

  • Create an environment which will encourage and sustain investments in youth-led development;

  • Illustrate the depth and breadth of talent, commitment and creativity that exists among young people across the Commonwealth by highlighting nominees' success stories;

  • Motivate, encourage and challenge young people (aged 15-29) to set high standards for their work/service at the community, national, regional or international levels;

  • Special recognition will also be given this year to development efforts in the context of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Nomination Requirements

  • The nominee must have been engaged in development work for more than 12 months, either in a professional or voluntary capacity;

  • The nominee must be a Commonwealth citizen and the development work must be taking place in a Commonwealth member country;

  • The nominee should not be older than 29 on 31 December 2020;

  • Individuals can nominate themselves or be nominated by someone who can accurately describe their development work.

  • The winners must agree to take part in publicity generated by the Commonwealth.

Awards will be decided on the basis of:

  1. Level of Impact;

  2. Level of innovation/fresh approaches to problem-solving;

  3. Quality of achievement;

  4. Quality of the evidence provided.

  5. Sustainability


  • Judges will choose 20 finalists who will each receive a trophy, a certificate and £1,000 in cash.

  • Of the 20, five regional winners will be chosen and awarded an additional £2,000.

  • The finalists and regional winners will be announced during Commonwealth week in March 2021.

  • There will be an overall winner who will receive the title of Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2021, and a total cash prize of £5,000.

This year’s award includes special recognition for young people who have made outstanding efforts to tackle development challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.


To be eligible, you must:

  • be a Commonwealth citizen aged 15 to 29 years;

  • have been engaged in development work for at least 12 months as a professional or volunteer; and

  • show a strong track record of implementing impactful development work and contribute to one of the 17 sustainable development goals.

Regional categories

Young leaders from across the 54 Commonwealth countries can enter five regional categories:

  1. Africa;

  2. Asia;

  3. Caribbean;

  4. Europe and Canada; and

  5. Pacific.

A Pan-Commonwealth panel will judge the entries based on the impact, sustainability and level of innovation.



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