The awards, held each year in March, celebrate the outstanding contributions young people (aged 15-29) are making towards tackling global issues, improving lives, and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Previous winners have enjoyed international acclaim, cash prizes and invaluable networking opportunities to help boost their projects.
Next year’s awards are even more special as 2023 has been declared ‘Year of the Youth’, in honour of the 50th anniversary of the Commonwealth Youth Programme.
Announcing the opening of applications on the eve of International Youth Day, Commonwealth Secretary-General the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC described the 2023 Awards as a historic milestone. She said:
“The Youth Awards are an important spoke in the wheel of youth empowerment. The fact that 2023 is the Commonwealth Year of Youth gives the 2023 Youth Awards special significance. To be recognised in the 2023 Youth Awards could change the course of their lives.”
For the second year running the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT) has joined the Commonwealth Secretariat as a partner to offer to one winner up to two years of flexible funding, worth £20,000 a year, as well as coaching opportunities and organisational development support.
Chris Kelly, Chief Executive of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, said:
“The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust is delighted to partner with The Commonwealth Secretariat for this year’s Commonwealth Youth Awards.
“QCT exists to support young Commonwealth leaders who are transforming their communities and provides flexible funding, practical tools and support, and a vibrant network.
“We are delighted to again be sponsoring a special CYA Social Enterprise award in 2023, the Commonwealth Year of the Youth.”
Young people from the 56 Commonwealth countries can enter five regional categories: Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and Canada, and the Pacific. An independent pan-Commonwealth jury will judge the nominations based on impact, sustainability, and innovation.
The jury will shortlist finalists, who will each receive a trophy, a certificate and £1,000 in cash, and from them, regional award winners will be chosen. These will receive an additional £2,000.
One of the regional award recipients will be accorded further recognition as Commonwealth Young Person of the Year and a total cash prize of £5,000.
QCT will sponsor a special CYA Social Enterprise award The winner of this award will receive up to two years of flexible funding at £20,000 a year, as well as coaching opportunities and organisational development support.
The finalists and regional winners will be announced during Commonwealth Week in March 2023.
To submit an entry, an applicant must be:
a Commonwealth citizen; between the age of 15 to 29 years; and have been engaged in development work for at least 12 months as a professional or volunteer.
Nominees must show a strong track record of implementing impactful development work which contributes to at least one of the 17 SDGs.
To be eligible for the additional QCT prize, applicants must be aged 18 to 29 years old, and the founder or co-founder of a social enterprise.
Nominations must be submitted and received by 23:59 BST on 17 October 2022.