International Youth Day: Meet The 2023 Youth Day Spotlight Awardees

In 2022, the Network of Youth for Sustainable Initiative (NGYouthSDGs) in partnership with Oxfam in Nigeria launched the Youth Day Spotlight Awards to recognize young Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 29 leading actions for sustainable development at the local and national levels. The Youth Day Spotlight Award is our strategy to centre the actions and initiatives of young people and advocate for their meaningful and equitable engagement in policies and programs in Nigeria.

Read about the 2022 Youth Day Spotlight Recipient

The 2023 Youth Day Spotlight Awards received more than 300 nominations from individuals, underrepresented groups and youth organizations across Nigeria. 120 nominees made the long list based on our criteria with fifty (50) making the final list where ten (10) were selected for the 2023 Youth Day Spotlight Awards.

Meet the Awardees

Name: Paul Eweola

SDGs Focus Area: Life Below Water

Role and Organization: Aquaworld, Founder and Executive Director

Paul is the Founder of Aquaworld – a youth-led organisation implementing innovative projects to address ocean challenges in Nigeria. Over 4 years, he has implemented multiple solutions to enhance the capacity of young people in Sustainable Ocean Practices, extended ocean literacy to over 10,000 school children in Nigeria, trained hundreds of youths in plastic upcycling and engaged over 10,000 African youths to become sustainability leaders in their communities. His tenacity towards environmental protection has earned him global recognition; He’s a Young National Geographic Explorer, Earthday Ambassador, and an Alumnus of the World Ocean Day Youth Advisory Council among others.


His inspiration was born during his undergraduate studies in Fisheries and Aquaculture, where he gained in-depth knowledge of challenges facing aquatic ecosystems due to unregulated human anthropogenic activities. Thus, understanding the devastating impacts of human activities on marine life and coastal communities ignited a deep sense of responsibility in him to take action. He realized that empowering and engaging young people, especially youths, is crucial to driving and effecting meaningful change.

Name: Nurudeen Issa

SDGs Focus Area: Affordable and Clean Energy

Role and Organization: CEO, Sirius-X Energy

Nurudeen is an experienced energy leader and climate activist with expertise in energy innovation and climate-related activities. He is the founder and CEO of Sirius-X Energy, which aims to harness the power of renewable energy and leverage advancements in technology to bridge the energy gap in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sirius-X Energy was awarded the Best Climate Mitigation Startup by the Global Cleantech Innovation Program in collaboration with UNIDO. He also led his team to win the third-best clean energy business idea in Africa by African Fellowship for Young Energy Leaders. Nurudeen has been invited by BP (British Petroleum) to serve as their delegate in One Young World Summit where he will share with thousands of young people across the world his work and how he is enhancing the global energy transition. 


The inspiration behind Sirius-X Energy’s work stems from the pressing energy crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa. The region faces significant challenges in terms of energy access and reliability, with a large portion of the population lacking access to electricity. These statistics highlight the urgent need for innovative solutions to address the energy crisis and improve the lives of millions of people. Sirius-X Energy has developed the solar-wind hybrid system, which aims to overcome the limitations of conventional wind turbines and ensure a consistent electricity supply, even in areas with low wind velocities. 

Name: Favour Abatang 

SDGs Focus Area: Quality Education

Role and Organization: Founder, Campus Babe Initiative

Favour Abatang is the founder of Campus Babe Initiative, a nonprofit organisation focused on providing support for teen mums by designing educational and mentorship support programmes such as skill acquisition programmes, healthcare programs, food bank projects e.t.c which has raised $3,000 in funding support.  Favour is also a National Youth Gender Activist at UN WOMEN Nigeria and has received numerous local and international awards for her efforts in contributing to SDG 4 and 5 including the Girl Child Education Champion Award and the Diana Award.


In 2020, Favour met a young 12-year-old girl who was pregnant. Her encounter with the young woman led her to look closer at her community, and to her surprise, she discovered many girls face similar challenges—teenage pregnancy was robbing them of their education and bright futures. To truly comprehend the scale of the issue, Favour delved into relevant statistics and uncovered the staggering fact that more than 10 million girls in Nigeria were out of school, with 15% of this concerning figure attributed to teenage pregnancy. This revelation ignited a fire within her, compelling her to question how she could be part of the solution and make a meaningful impact. The pursuit of this answer led her to start an initiative. Through her initiative, Favour has directly helped 3,600 teenage mothers by providing them with access to second-chance education and skill development opportunities.

Name: Uforo Nsentip 

SDGs Focus Area: Quality Education

Role and Organization: Founder, Nsentip Twins Foundation (The Rekindled World Project)

Uforo Nsentip is an award-winning education activist from Akwa-Ibom, Nigeria and founder of Nsentip Twins Foundation which serves humanity and nature by achieving the UNSDGs through initiating sustainable projects. She is most passionate about Quality Education and she aspires to transform education and orchestrate a global community of changemakers for change. The Rekindled World is an initiative she started to tackle the substandard educational approach in schools; she advocates for the inclusion of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) practices in schools and the teaching of UNSDGs in the educational curriculum. Through her work, Uforo has impacted tens of thousands of people and has been recognized by prestigious organisations like Diana Award, UN Foundation and UN Women.


Uforo’s inspiration for taking action for quality education originated from recognising the transformative power of education in shaping lives and societies and witnessing the breach in educational opportunities and its effects on individuals. Through understanding the benefits of accessible and equitable education, she became dedicated to advocating for change. Her Rekindled World project by Nsentip Twins Foundation has impacted 23,000 people and has sponsored 10 out-of-school children in the Ikot Okuubo community.

Name: Liadi Yusuff

SDGs Focus Area: Reduced Inequalities

Role and Organization: Chief Executive, iLEAD AFRICA

Yusuff Liadi Abiodun is a passionate global activist, social innovator, and digital advocate dedicated to empowering young people and marginalized communities. As the Chief Executive of iLEAD AFRICA and founder of Be The Change Initiative and YouthElect Initiative, his work revolves around promoting youth participation in politics, advocating for sustainable development, and reducing inequalities in Africa. With a focus on digital technology and social innovation, Yusuff strives to equip and amplify the voices of young leaders, inspiring positive change and fostering a more inclusive and just world. His mission is to be the catalyst for a better future, where every young person’s potential is realized and harnessed for the greater good.


The inspiration to start iLEAD AFRICA stemmed from witnessing the untapped potential of young people and the glaring inequalities that persisted in our communities. Yusuff was driven by the belief that youth can be powerful agents of change and catalysts for social transformation. Seeing the lack of representation of young people and marginalized communities in decision-making processes further fueled my determination to create platforms that empower and amplify their voices. The desire to build a more inclusive and sustainable future for Africa ignited the passion that led to the inception of these initiatives, and it continues to drive him. Through his initiatives, Yusuff and his team have empowered young individuals from diverse backgrounds, giving them the tools and confidence to actively engage in democratic governance and decision-making processes. 

The collective impact of his works is evident in the transformation of communities, the emergence of empowered youth leaders, and the growing momentum of youth-driven movements for sustainable development.

Name: Lucky Owoicho

SDGs Focus Area: Quality Education 

Role and Organization: Founder, Project Build A School

Lucky Owoicho is an International Development Worker, Digital Literacy advocate, Project Manager, and SDG Advocate. He has gained over 7 years of experience in active volunteering and has implemented several community projects and has led teams of young people in several leadership positions. Currently, he is a Program and Impact Fellow at Aid For Rural Education Access Initiative- AREAi an initiative that focuses on providing quality education for children in marginalized and underserved communities with the use of technology.  He leads an initiative called Project Build A School, an initiative that focuses on addressing education inaccessibility for underprivileged children.


Lucky’s inspiration was a result of his foundational education background and how well this shaped his life. He believes a solid foundational education can tremendously affect a child’s future and not getting the opportunity to access quality education in the early start can hinder the growth and development of a child and the development of any community and nation at large. “For a house to be built it is important we lay the blocks a step at a time”. 

Though Project Build A School,  Luck works with children who were displaced as a result of the farmers/herders crisis in Benue state. He has directly supported in building the infrastructure, provided learning materials and mobilized volunteer teachers to help 200 affected children.  As a Project and Impact Fellow at Aid For Rural Education Access Initiative-AREAi, Lucky has contributed to tackling the foundational learning crisis, supporting girls education and promoting digital skills in several internally displaced camps (IDPs) and other marginalized groups in Nigeria.

Name: Anne Obize

SDGs Focus Area: Quality Education

Role and Organization: Founder, Teens Connect Africa 

Anne is a social entrepreneur and innovative communications professional with over five years of experience in brand communication strategy development, TV presenting, event hosting, and audiovisual content creation. Over the past five years, Anne has leveraged the media in advocating for quality education, youth capacity development, and empowerment. She has designed advocacy campaigns, projects, training, online courses, documentaries, podcasts, YouTube shows, and social media content, impacting and reaching over 10,000 audiences worldwide. She is a professional master of ceremonies, transformational speaker, Author, Founder of Teens Connect Africa and Communications Officer at African Food Changemakers.


In 2015, Anne witnessed how two teenagers dropped out of school after one of them got pregnant and they were forced into early marriage. She was saddened by the increasing rate of teenagers’ involvement in social vices such as high dropout rate, teenage pregnancy, cultism, gangsterism, gambling, and addiction, which is a result of poverty, lack of exposure, and access to mentorship and positive engagement. These issues motivated Anne to start Teens Connect Africa in 2020 to create a platform to access mentorship, resources, and opportunities for teenagers in underserved communities to develop their talent and become productive members of society. Teens Connect Africa has had a transformative impact on young people in Nigeria and across Africa providing mentorship, educational resources, and talent development opportunities which have significantly improved these teenagers’ academic outcomes and personal development.

Name: Mohammed Bayero Yayandi

SDGs Focus Area: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Role and Organization: Founder/CEO, YandyTech Community Development Initiative

Mohammed Bayero Yayandi has an academic background in Engineering and over five years of experience in tech and development, leading different development projects. He is a P/CVE Specialist, Transformation Specialist and the Founder of YandyTech Community. His work has directly impacted over thousands of young people in Abuja, Kaduna, Kano and Borno States through youth employability training, digital skills empowerment and entrepreneurship support. The digital community has successfully helped young people access decent jobs, economic growth opportunities, and valuable information, fostering positive change and transformation in their lives. Mohammed has been awarded awards and fellowships for his work in the SDGs, some include the UNESCO-APCEIU, BeyGOOD Global Citizen, Equal Access International, RiseUp and Gidan Yanci. 


The inspiration to start YandyTech Community stemmed from witnessing the untapped potential of young individuals, especially in underserved communities, and the transformative power of technology. Mohammed was driven by the desire to bridge the digital divide and provide equal opportunities for youth to access quality education and gainful employment. The belief in the positive impact of youth-led initiatives and the vision of a more inclusive and sustainable future also fueled his passion to start this SDGs action.

Name: Jennifer Obiorah

SDGs Focus Area: Gender Equality

Role and Organization: Founder, TeamUpcyclers

Jennifer Obiorah is an award-winning climate activist and visionary leader who has achieved significant breakthroughs in environmental sustainability, advancing gender equality, quality education, and climate change. Her initiatives have reduced greenhouse gas emissions in her community significantly. Through her organization TeamUpcyclers, she upcycles textile wastes into reusable sanitary pads and artworks. As an educator and SDG advocate, she has educated thousands of people on achieving carbon net zero emissions. Her commitment to gender equality is evident in her work empowering marginalized communities. Despite challenges, her resilience and empathy make her a global leader in advocating for gender equality.


Jennifer developed a passion for gender equality and climate change during the Climate Actors Accelerators Programme by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network Nigeria (UN-SDSN). She learnt about the SDGs, climate change, and the circular economy. This knowledge launched her passion for gender equality and climate change. Subsequently, she participated in the SDG Advocate Programme by UN-SDSN and got certified as an SDG Advocate. During the personal project phase, she came up with the idea of producing reusable sanitary pads from textile waste as a way of empowering women and combating the climate hazards caused by plastic sanitary pads and textile wastes on the environment. Now called, TeamUpcyclers, her organization offers inexpensive and reusable sanitary pads to underserved women and girls particularly those who live in IDP camps, prisons, disadvantaged communities, and low-income groups.

Name: Oluwamayowa Eleanora Boyo

SDGs Focus Area: Gender Equality

Role and Organization: Founder, House of Eleanora Foundation

Oluwamayowa Eleanora Boyo is a visionary leader and passionate advocate for the rights of Women and Girls With Disabilities (WGWDs). Her work focuses on promoting gender equity, addressing Gender/Disability Based Violence (G/DBV), advocating for Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR), WGWDs participation in politics, inclusive education and advancing socio-economic justice for WGWDs. As a visually impaired individual, Eleanora’s resilience and determination have led her to establish the House of Eleanora Foundation, where she collaborates with the private sector and nonprofit partners to provide vocational training and empower WGWDs. Her dedication and leadership inspire others, demonstrating that disabilities should not limit one’s potential, and advocating for a rights-based inclusive and equitable future for all.


Being visually impaired from birth and witnessing the stigmatization faced by persons with disabilities, Oluwamayowa was determined to be their voice. With a strong support system and quality education, she empowered herself to achieve independence, leading to the establishment of the “House of Eleanora Foundation (HoEF).” Through HoEF, she advocates for the Sexual and Reproductive Rights of women with disabilities and provides vocational training to empower them, fostering socio-economic independence. Her ultimate goal is to contribute to building a rights-based and equitable society that embraces diversity and inclusivity for all.


The Youth Day Spotlight Awardees were recognized during the International Youth Day organized by NGYouthSDGs and Oxfam in Nigeria. Over the next year, the awardees will be provided with opportunities by NGYouthSDGs to advocate for meaningful youth engagement.


Watch the 2023 International Youth Day Event