Kenyan entrepreneur Evans Wadongo has won both the pan-Commonwealth and Africa region Commonwealth Youth Award, receiving more than £5,000 to support his charity Sustainable Development For All (SDFA).
The Commonwealth youth award for excellence in development work was also given to young entrepreneurs from Australia, Barbados and Sri Lanka.
Evans was feted because when he was 19, he designed a solar-powered lantern using recycled materials and is now responsible for making thousands more through his charity.
Though the Queen Mother was unwell during most of the recent Commonwealth festivities, she made time to meet the young developers and congratulate them for their hard work.
“I am just delighted to receive such an honour, considering that it represents development work being done by young people in all 54 Commonwealth countries. It gives me the courage to continue inspiring other young people to see themselves as agents of change in whatever they do,” he said to Capital Lifestyle.
“I hope to use the grant to continue with my work and specially to help support shepherd children in Turkana and Samburu get an education,” he added.
Evans’ accolade follows his listing as the Forbes 30 under 30 young entrepreneurs in Africa.
“This demonstrates that commitment to betterment of our communities and society we live in is a global challenge, and we have shared problems both in developed and developing countries,” he said.
Welcoming guests to the awards ceremony in London on 12 March, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said: “The objectives of the awards are to acknowledge the outstanding contributions of young people in the areas of development and democracy and to encourage sustainable investment in the depth and breadth of talent that exists across the Commonwealth.”