Sierra Leone’s Haja Isatu Bah Shortlisted for Commonwealth Youth Awards 2023

Haja Isatu Bah, founder of Uman4Uman, a social enterprise that produces and sells reusable sanitary pads, has been shortlisted for the prestigious Commonwealth Youth Awards 2023.

Haja’s journey towards effecting real change started with a thirst for knowledge and an unyielding passion for her environment.

With the support of scholarships, she pursued her education, earning her International Baccalaureate (IB diploma) from the United World College, Red Cross Nordic, and a degree in Environmental Studies from Skidmore College, New York.

These formative years instilled in her a profound understanding of the interconnectedness of global challenges and the urgency of addressing them collectively.

In 2019, Haja founded Uman4Uman, an initiative that seeks to break the cycle of period poverty while fostering gender equity and economic opportunities for young girls and women.

The cornerstone of her initiative lies in providing affordable and reusable sanitary pads made from eco-friendly materials, a crucial step towards reducing the environmental burden of disposable alternatives.

Beyond addressing menstruation-related challenges, Haja envisions a world where every human has access to basic necessities, education, and healthcare – a world where no one is left behind.

But Haja’s vision doesn’t stop there. Her determination to build a sustainable future extends to mitigating the effects of climate change.

Through research, advocacy, and entrepreneurship, she actively collaborates with diverse and vulnerable groups, fostering resilience in the face of environmental crises.

Her tireless efforts embody the spirit of the Commonwealth Youth Awards, which celebrate young leaders making tangible contributions to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

This year’s Youth Awards hold special significance as they commemorate the Commonwealth Heads of Government declaring 2023 as the ‘Year of Youth.’

As one of the fifty shortlisted individuals, Haja stands among social entrepreneurs, environmental champions, innovators, and human rights activists from all corners of the Commonwealth.

Their collective initiatives bring hope and progress to diverse communities, demonstrating the power of youth-led action in fostering sustainable and peaceful development.

The accolades awaiting the twenty finalists and ultimate winners reflect the profound impact of their work.

Each finalist will receive recognition in the form of a trophy, certificate, and £1,000 grant to amplify their endeavors.

Additionally, the top finalist from each region will be crowned a regional winner, receiving £3,000 to continue their efforts.

One exceptional individual will be honored as the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2023, receiving £5,000 to further advance their mission.

Haja’s vision reaches far beyond personal accolades and recognition. It is a clarion call for a united effort towards global progress.

By advocating for sustainable practices, gender equality, and accessible education and healthcare, Haja envisions a world where every individual has the opportunity to thrive.

Haja’s commitment is a shining example of the potential of youth to make transformative changes in their communities and beyond.

As we eagerly await the results of the Commonwealth Youth Awards, let us celebrate Haja Isatu Bah and the extraordinary achievements of all the finalists.

Their passion, dedication, and innovative spirit inspire hope and instill confidence that a sustainable and equitable future is within our reach.

May their stories ignite a spark within the hearts of the next generation of leaders, urging them to step forward, embrace the challenges of our time, and join hands in building a brighter, more prosperous world for all humanity.

Together, we can forge a path towards a future where everyone’s dreams and aspirations are realized, leaving no one behind in the pursuit of progress and lasting change.

Author: James Conteh

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