PETALING JAYA: Malaysian youth Mogesh Sababathy has been announced as a finalist for this year’s Commonwealth Youth Awards.
The marine biologist graduate is among 20 extraordinary young individuals from 18 countries who have been shortlisted.
In a statement, the Commonwealth said Mogesh’s project focused on the sustainable development goal (SGD) of “Life Below Water”.
“He co-founded the ‘Project Ocean Hope’, a youth-led group that aims to raise the visibility of ocean issues and environmental conservation through campaigns and youth leadership training.
“The group has also run educational community projects to reduce littering and unsustainable fishing practices, and an ocean literacy webinar series on waste management, reaching over 10,000 individuals across 15 countries, ” it said.
The awards recognise outstanding Commonwealth young people whose projects are transforming lives in their communities and helping to achieve the SDGs.
More than 1,000 entries from 43 Commonwealth countries were received last year.
The finalists were selected across each of the award’s regional categories following a rigorous judging process.
This year, the awards have expanded to include five regional categories: Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and Canada, and the Pacific.
The top finalist from each region will be announced as the regional winner at the official awards ceremony on March 10 that will be held virtually for the first time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Of these five regional winners, one outstanding youth will become the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2021.
All 20 finalists will each receive a trophy, certificate and £1,000 (RM5,521) to expand the impact of their projects.
Each regional winner will receive £3,000 (RM15,563) and the overall Pan-Commonwealth winner will take home a total of £5,000 (27,605).
The judging panel includes high commissioners, development experts and youth leaders from across the Commonwealth.
Speaking ahead of the announcement, the Commonwealth secretary-general Patricia Scotland said that young people are delivering a vast range of impressive innovations every day but much of that may go unnoticed or be taken for granted.
“Yet, often it is what young people do which makes all the difference, especially now at a time of unimaginable human suffering inflicted by the pandemic and economic crisis.
“The finalists remind us that there is no lack of ideas or talent, but of support mechanisms necessary for young innovators.
“The Youth Awards put a spotlight on outstanding young people who are bringing innovative ideas and creative solutions to support, lead and deliver a future of peace, prosperity and progress, ” she said.
Scotland added that this year’s ceremony would also recognise selected youths who have successfully addressed the challenges posed by the pandemic in their communities.