10 June 2004
|Water Tank Construction Project in Samoa|
Each year CYP gives up to five Commonwealth Youth Silver Awards in each of its regions - Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the South Pacific. The Silver Award winners are then nominated for the Commonwealth Youth Gold Award. Judged in London, UK, by High Commissioners and leading Commonwealth civil society organisations, one Gold Award is given in each region. The panel of judges for the 2003/2004 Gold Awards met at the Commonwealth Secretariat on 2 and 4 June 2004, to decide on the winners.
Through these awards, CYP recognises the efforts of young people (aged 15 to 29) to develop their communities by creating innovative and sustainable development projects. The projects are evaluated on the participation of young people in identifying, planning, implementing and monitoring the project. Other criteria include gender balance, sustainability and innovation.
In Africa, the Gold Award went to the Ruiru AIDS Awareness Group (RAAG) in Kenya. RAAG aims to run an effective HIV/AIDS campaign, improve the environment and raise its community's standard of living, for young people in particular. RAAG engages in effective networking by involving members of the community in its activities, thereby gaining greater access to the young people.
From Asia, the winning project was Camp Outreach 2004 in Singapore. Camp Outreach is a yearly project that focuses on the hearing impaired community. The project endeavours to realise each hearing-impaired young person's potential by developing his/her leadership qualities and integrating him/her into society. Camp Outreach is a unique initiative to work with a group in society that had been overlooked by mainstream development agencies.
For the CYP's Caribbean region, the Gold Award was won by the Youth Restorative Action Project (YRAP) from Canada. YRAP is a youth justice committee which deals with the education, rehabilitation and reconciliation of young people involved in crimes motivated by racism, intolerance and other social issues. It is the world's only youth justice group consisting of members between the ages of 12 to 24 and is completely driven and managed by young people. It is an innovative project that works with a very marginalised group in society.
The winner in the South Pacific was the Water Tank Construction project (of the Iva Catholic Youth Group) in Samoa. This project came into existence as a result of the shortage of pure drinking water and unreliable water systems in the community. The group builds water tanks for distribution to nearby schools and churches. The project is an effective initiative to provide clean water, which is a basic need for the community. In addition, the project enhances skills and technical expertise among young people.
Andrew Simmons, Chief Programme Officer at CYP's pan-Commonwealth office in London, said, "The Commonwealth Youth Development Awards bring much needed recognition to the valuable contribution that so many young people all over the Commonwealth make to the development of their communities. CYP believes that young people's skills, energy and enthusiasm make them crucial development partners. This year's winning projects give a glimpse of the hard work and dedication of young Commonwealth citizens in developing their communities."
CNIS - the Commonwealth News and Information Service Issue 187 9 June 2004