queen's young leaders award, douglas mwangi
/ COURTESY

Douglas Mwangi alias Mzelo was on Tuesday presented by Her Majesty the Queen with a Queen’s Young Leaders Award at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London, in honour of the work he is doing to transform lives in his community.

The Queen was joined at the Award ceremony by Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in recognizing their success.

Mwangi was among 53 selected young leaders, aged between 18-29 years across the Commonwealth countries who are taking the lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives and are finding solutions to global issues such as climate change, food scarcity, gender-based violence, mental health, and access to education.

Speaking at the Awards ceremony, His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex, who was recently named a Commonwealth Youth Ambassador said: “In this rapidly changing world, it is heartening to meet so many inspiring young people gathered here today, who have already stepped up as leaders and improved the lives of so many people across the Commonwealth. You are the hope and optimism the world needs and we will all do whatever we can to support you in it.”

Mwangi received his Award for the work he is doing to reduce illiteracy and poverty in his community after founding Oasis Mathare, which offers entrepreneurial and IT skills to unemployed young people, including teenage mothers.

“It’s such a huge honour to receive an Award from Her Majesty The Queen for the work I’m doing at home in Kenya. It’s been such an amazing experience being here in the UK and meeting all of the other Award winners. I’ve learnt so much and I can’t wait to put it all into practice. Being part of the Queen’s Young Leaders family is really exciting and I’m looking forward to seeing what the future now holds,” Mwangi, 27, said.

As a Queen’s Young Leader, he has gained access to bespoke mentoring and training through the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education, designed to develop their leadership skills further and ensure they are best placed to lead the way in the future to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues.

Guests including David Beckham, Sir Lenny Henry, Nicola Adams, Neelam Gill, Caspar Lee, Tina Daheley, Ore Oduba and Chairman of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, Sir John Major, joined Award winners at Buckingham Palace to congratulate them on their remarkable achievements.

Read: I Deserved Head Of State Commendation Award – Robert Alai

“I’m so proud to be here with the Queen’s Young Leaders tonight. It’s really inspiring to meet these hardworking young people, who continue to dedicate their time and energy to helping other people live a better life. Hearing their stories and the sacrifices they’ve made is a real honour and I feel very privileged to celebrate with them today,” Beckham said.

The now complete Queen’s Young Leaders network forms a unique, dedicated and powerful group of young people from 53 Commonwealth countries who will connect, collaborate and change lives together for years to come.

A Sh.26 million Legacy Fund has been created to further support them in their future endeavours. It will be open to all 240 Queen’s Young Leaders and 282 highly commended runners-up to apply for grants that will help elevate their work and enable them to work together to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing the Commonwealth.

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