Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi has been named the 2019 Commonwealth Young Person of the Year for her work at the Stand to End Rape (STER) initiative.
Oluwaseun is the founder of Stand to End Rape, an NGO advocating against sexual violence and providing support for survivors. A survivor of sexual violence herself, she set up the service to offer support to women, men and young people who have experienced any form of gender-based abuse in Nigeria.
STER also trains healthcare workers how to deal with survivors and provides them with free health kits such as HIV tests.
Recognised at a ceremony held at the Commonwealth’s headquarters in London for her efforts to end sexual violence, she received a prize of £5,000, which she will use to expand her activities in Nigeria.
“I dream of a future where this work is not required. I dream of the day when sexual violence is completely eradicated from this world,” Oluwaseun told Commonwealth.
Oluwaseun’s work has reached over 200,000 people providing pro-bono medical, legal, mental health, educational and empowerment services.
“This award reminds me that when young people don’t look away in the face of injustice, and say ‘no’ to cultural biases, we have the capacity to create change because we are magic. Winning this award encourages me to keep working hard to build a safe community for women, girls and men in Nigeria and that my story is valid. To my team and I, the award is a reminder that our work is seen, felt and should not stop now,” she said.
Every year the Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work recognise the exceptional contribution of young people, aged 15-29, of 53 Commonwealth countries who are leading initiatives in view of the sustainable development goals.
From more than 500 nominations from over 45 countries, 16 finalists were chosen, from which Oluwaseun emerged as the overall winner.