Enhancing youth empowerment, engagement, inclusion and participation at all levels, young Guyanese, Tricia Teekah was today (Wednesday, March 15, 2017) awarded winner of the Commonwealth Youth Awards, the Caribbean and the Americas region.
Teekah was among 17 finalists chosen from over 210 applicants from 30 countries in the Commonwealth.
The winners were announced in celebration of Commonwealth Day 2017 which was observed on Monday last (March 13, 2017).
The Leader of the ‘Vote Like a Boss’ campaign launched in 2015 received a certificate and a trophy, along with £3000 to continue her initiative.
“Thank you to the Commonwealth and especially to the youth division, all of our mentors and guiders, everyone who contributed to this campaign to make it a success,” were the words of the young woman when she received her award at Marlborough House in London.
Teekah is also the co-founder of the Guyana National Youth Council (GNYC) spoke of the ‘Vote like a Boss’ Campaign which she said was successful in changing the perception that young people are not interested in the political participation and the voting process.
In this regard, she noted that the impact of the Campaign was “phenomenal”. “Some of the changes we’ve seen is that young people, there is now a willingness and an empowerment for people to engage their elected leaders, to hold them accountable to their commitments because we went through the manifestos, we know that you promise us X and we want you to deliver. We’ve interacted with seniors who voted for the very first time because of the campaign, they’ve seen a manifesto because of the campaign, and I think that touched us the most,” she said.
Teekah received her award from Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland QC who lightheartedly encouraged that a ‘Run like a Boss’ Campaign, be launched to encourage youths to also run for office.
The Commonwealth Secretary-General lauded the finalists who she said demonstrated the creative energy and innovative solutions that enable young people to initiate and lead developmental strategies
“Young people bring fresh perspectives, and insights, and with their needs and ambitions bring focus and urgency to our development agenda. So mainstreaming youth perspectives into development plans and ensuring that there are opportunities in full participation of young people in these processes accelerates sustainable development,” she said.
Scotland added that when there are engagement and partnerships with youth on value-based leadership, more can be done to improve the communities.
The Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work celebrate outstanding adolescents and young adults aged 15–29 from Asia, the Pacific, the Caribbean and Americas, Africa and Europe, who are leading initiatives ranging from poverty alleviation to peace-building.
This year’s finalists are recognised for spearheading projects that will contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals – a set of 17 global targets that governments have committed to achieving by 2030.
The finalists were chosen by a panel of judges including representatives of Commonwealth High Commissions, Commonwealth organisations and young leaders.