HM King commends young Bahrainis at King Hamad Youth Empowerment Award to Achieve SDGs ceremony

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Manama, Dec. 30 (BNA): His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has commended young Bahrainis for their commitment, dedication and achievements in an address at the conclusion of the King Hamad Award for Youth Empowerment Award to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals.


“In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful


Peace be upon you,


It is our pleasure to be with you for the conclusion of the King Hamad Award for Youth Empowerment Award to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals, in its third edition, and the announcement of its winners.


We see this Award as a message of appreciation and pride from the Kingdom of Bahrain to the initiatives and accomplishments of the world's young people who are committed to providing effective and sustainable solutions towards a more stable and peaceful world - enabling its people to enjoy security and prosperity.


In light of the latest events in our societies, and the many changes and challenges resulting from the ongoing health emergency, it has become necessary to allow more practical and intellectual opportunities for young people, enabling them to contribute to development in innovative ways that accelerate the achievement of the Global Sustainable Development Agenda.


We would like here to express our deep pride in the continuous efforts made by our young Bahraini people –whose confident steps we follow with interest - in order to promote our pioneering national youth experience, to advance the results of their work, and to continue their achievements with great professionalism and global competitiveness.


In this regard, we extend our appreciation for the ongoing follow-up of our dear son and Representative for Humanitarian Work and Youth Affairs, His Highness Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who has done everything necessary for a youth renaissance that can communicate with the world in the vocabulary of their day, in a spirit of renewal, and which unites their efforts to build a movement that is aware of its duties and capable of building and leading nations.


In conclusion, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to the winners of the Award, and thank them for their interest in participating with their distinguished projects and initiatives, hoping that they will be implemented in a way which builds on our development gains, especially in such challenging times. 


We also wish to express our appreciation for the efforts of the staff at the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs, and to all the committees and partners supporting the Award's work to achieve its desired goals.


Peace and God’s mercy and blessings be upon you.”


The ceremony, which was broadcast on Bahrain TV, also included the speech delivered by HM the King’s Representative for Humanitarian Work and Youth Affairs, His Highness Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who said:


“In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful


It is my pleasure to express my deepest gratitude and appreciation to His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, may Allah protect him, for his unlimited support of the Bahraini and international youth, which stems from His Majesty's vision of empowering the youth in their participation in achieving the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations.


His Majesty continuously affirms that the Bahraini youth are the source of our wealth and the kingdom’s real assets. His Majesty ensured that empowering youth becomes a national priority, to stimulate their effective participation as a work force.


It is our responsibility to convey His Majesty's vision to transcend the local reality and reach the youth around the world. We seek to create hope for them starting from the Kingdom of Bahrain, as it always was and remains a land of opportunities for the youth.


We insisted on continuing the third edition of the King Hamad Award of Youth Empowerment to achieve SDGs, despite the great challenges posed by Covid-19.Our determination stems from the directives of His Majesty the King to overcome all the challenges posed by the pandemic, in order to elevate the youth and confirm their international importance. 

We are determined to transform these challenges into opportunities for creativity and innovation.


What distinguishes this year's edition of the award is the addition of new dimensions that required us to direct the youth to think "outside the box", to find solutions to implement the SDG goals. 

We also encouraged youth initiatives and projects that address the SDG goals that have been affected by the pandemic, making this the first award to do so.


We are very proud of the award’s great international outreach this year. 

This year has seen a large participation from the youth, public and private institutions and civil organizations, greater than that of the previous years.


The Kingdom of Bahrain has made many efforts towards its international responsibility in achieving the SDGs. 

It has engaged the Bahraini and international youth, taking His Majesty the King as a beacon in making the Kingdom of Bahrain the Capital of Youth and Sports. 

The Kingdom ensures opportunities of a fair, competitive and open environment for the youth to compete, in order to build a more developed and prosperous world.


Thank you, Sir, and may Allah’s peace, mercy and blessings be upon you.”


Then, Youth and Sports Minister, Aymen bin Tawfeeq Al Moayyed, delivered the following speech:


“Dear Brothers and Sisters


Peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you.


The direct interest of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the beloved Monarch of the country - may Allah protect him - was the reason for the great success of the King Hamad Youth Empowerment Award to Achieve the SDGs in its third edition. 

It confirms the efforts of the Kingdom of Bahrain to support the international community, by celebrating the efforts of young people around the world and giving them the opportunity to present their initiatives and to appreciate their contribution. 

It also encourages them to renew, develop and shape the future of their countries.


I would like to take the opportunity to thank His Highness Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Representative of His Majesty the King for Humanitarian Work and Youth Affairs, for his continuous support to the Ministry of Youth and Sport Affairs, the Bahraini and international Youth. 

His keen interest in the details of the award stems from His Highness’ determination and concern towards the global youth. This reflects the Kingdom's responsibilities and its support of the efforts of The United Nations, in order to give young people the full opportunity to implement the SDGs according to their vision, ideas and initiatives. 

This year, we were able to improve the award according to current changes and the implications of the Corona pandemic.


We are proud of the inspired projects presented by the participants. 

We confirm that every participation is a benefit to the international youth sector and it is our honor to shed light on these initiatives. We thank the youth, the institutions and the organizations for their positive interaction with the award.


In conclusion, I reiterate my thanks to His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, for his care and attentiveness towards the Bahraini, the Arab and the international youth.”


The Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Stefano Pettinato, also addressed the ceremony. He said:


“Since 1978, the UNDP in Bahrain works side by side and in partnership with government entities and other organizations towards the achievement of national goals and international commitments including the SDGs. 


The KHA is an example of such partnerships. Since 2017, under the patronage of His Majesty the King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, theUNDP works with the MYS to design, implement and promote the Awards for Youth Empowerment for SDGs. 

Every year this endeavor grows in size and reach.  

This year’s edition reached out to over 100 countries, receiving more than 4000 applications; a 14% increase since last year, and 5 times as many since the 2018 edition! 


We commend the Kingdom of Bahrain and His Majesty the King for spearheading this initiative, and are grateful to have been able to give our contribution.  

We believe that the success of the KHA rests on three factors: the selection criteria, the objectivity in the screening, and the broad outreach.


We live in a changing world,and the award needs to adapt to the times.  

The criteria are revised every year to increase the relevance of the applications to the theme, making them practical and ensuring they speak to current challenges, including COVID-19 and its implications.


Any award’s credibility rests on its internal mechanisms that need to reflect a fair selection of the best applications.  

The objectivity in the selection process comes from the UN based technical jury, 7 UN entities allocating senior staff to ensure the identification of the best applications. This coupled with the prestige coming from a high-level panel of international jurors that make the final decision.


And last but not least, the outreach.  The ambition of this award to become global is reflected in the numbers.  

This year, even more than in the past, we have leveraged on our global network, within the UNDP and other sister UN organizations spread around the world, to ensure the broadest participation to the award. 


This Award puts global youth in the driver’s seat.  Youth are protagonists, not only of the future, but of the present.  

Our role is to provide them with the space, the opportunities and the instruments to express their resourcefulness, creativity and commitment to a better future, for all and for the achievement of the SDGs by 2030. 


From the UNDP, we are grateful to have been able to support this initiative, and look forward to setting new milestones for the Awards, and opportunities for future cooperation in the Kingdom.”


During the ceremony, the following winners of the third edition of the “King Hamad Youth Empowerment Award to Achieve the SDGs” were announced:


First Category: Recognising Youth Contribution to Achievement of Sustainable Development Goals:


1.   “People” Award:  Ms. Yvette Ishimwe, from Rwanda, for her initiative “IRIBA Tap and Drink” which aims to improve access to clean drinking water for low-income urban communities, while creating decent jobs for local youth and women and protecting the environment by avoiding the use of single-use plastic bottles, commonly used for bottling water. 

2.   “Prosperity” Award: Ms. Esther Ejiroghene, from Nigeria, for her initiative “Trihealthon”. It is a non-profit organisation that promotes health equality in Africa. 

It is the first organisation in West Africa to apply meditation methods and integrate them into treatment and health care methods. It also aims to combat the main causes of death for Nigerian children under the age of five.  

 3.  “Planet” Award:  Mr. Franc Kamugyisha, from Uganda, for his initiative “Ecoplastile”. It is an emerging registered social enterprise, established to address the challenges of post-consumer plastic pollution, waste management, deforestation and climate change, while helping disadvantaged communities. 

The Foundation works with young people and marginalized women in particular to collect and sell plastic. 

In addition, it gives members of the community the option of replacing waste with insurance such as medical, paying school fees and obtaining safe water through the waste insurance system. 

4.  “Peace” Award:  Mr. Keita Nakano from Japan for his initiative "Accept International", which has contributed towards peace-building and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) and helping victims of ongoing conflicts around the world that have seen very little progress.

The organisation seeks to extend a helping hand to those who feel rejected by society for their previous participation in extremism and contributes to their reintegration into society.  

Second Category: Recognising Enablers of Youth Participation: Action and Impact for SDGS’ Achievement 

1.   “Financial Enabling” Award: Al-Mabarrah Al-Khalifia Foundation (MKF), from the Kingdom of Bahrain. 

It is a non-profit institution, established in 2011 in the Kingdom of Bahrain to create a social impact in the field of education, and empower youth to reach their optimum potential by providing them with knowledge, skills and personality development programs. 

2.   “Institutional Enabling” Award: The Mediterranean Youth Foundation for Development from Egypt. The Foundation targets young people from Mediterranean countries and their neighbors, especially those who live in border areas or rural cities, which gives them fewer opportunities for positive participation in their countries. 

They work on a non-formal educational pathway that helps young people develop their potential in life skills, personal branding, and goal setting to be able to enter the job market and define their career path by discovering their capabilities and passions through interactive activities.  

 3.   “Technical Enabling” Award: Know One Teach One, from Vietnam, which aims to assist, support and develop young people who come from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, such as victims of violence, orphans, ethnic minorities and the financially disadvantaged. It provides the targeted youth with a comprehensive free training course in hospitality for a period of 24 months.

Upon graduation, trainees receive a third certificate in commercial gastronomy or hospitality from Australia. The establishment runs a restaurant where young people train in parallel with the courses, with close guidance and counseling by the restaurant staff.