Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, has been named Commonwealth Young Person of the Year at the Commonwealth Secretariat Headquarters, the 13th of March.
Osowobi who was raped during her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) by election touts during the 2011 elections for not compromising on her values and collecting a bribe has since 2011, become a voice and lent a helping hand to domestic and sexual abuse victims through her programme, Stand to End Rape Initiative (STER).
She was chosen as the winner after getting nominated with 15 finalists and four regional winners.
Receiving the award, she said: “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.”
“Our organisation provides medical, legal, mental health and psychosocial support, and empowerment services – depending on the requirement. In certain instances, we provide shelter access and financial support to survivors. Having experienced sexual violence myself, I understand the cultural barrier of speaking up, and the lapses or lack of services available. This award is a reaffirmation that elimination of sexual violence in Nigeria and other Commonwealth Countries is important and a core agenda of the Commonwealth Secretariat as we work towards achieving a ‘Connected Commonwealth’.”
The Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work has a mission to “raise the profile and highlight the contribution young people make to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Examples range from poverty alleviation to conflict prevention and resolution, to promoting and enhancing democracy and development.
She also received an additional £5,000 (N2,384,820) as support for her initiative.