A tremendous year indeed it has been for Victor OCHEN, being most recently awarded both the Commonwealth Youth Worker of the Year and Commonwealth Africa Youth Worker of the Year on the 5th November at the Commonwealth’s headquarters in London, for his outstanding contribution to advancing youth empowerment and development although often times under dangerous circumstances and at considerable personal risk.
This has followed a trail of recognitions and awards from many highly esteemed and prominent institutions, governments, bodies and individuals around the Globe. Climaxing at the joint nomination of Victor OCHEN and AYINET for the Nobel Peace prize earlier this year by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), that catapulted him to global fame and recognition for, among other contributions, the Medical and Psychosocial rehabilitation support to War Victims in the greater Northern Uganda who were afflicted by the horrors of the decades long Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebellion.
Ahead of the awards ceremony, the Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said,
“The Commonwealth Youth Worker of the Year Awards add to the distinction of the profession, and acknowledge the immense contribution being made across our member states through innovative initiatives led by brave and inspirational youth workers… The recipients of these 2015 Awards make heroic contributions, empowering young people to change their lives for the better, building safer and more inclusive societies. They exemplify all that is best in the Commonwealth, and embody the values and principles of our Charter.”
The ceremony took place during the Youth Work Week 2015, from 2-8 November, with the theme Youth Workers Creating Paths to Peace, acknowledging the role that youth development workers around the world play in fostering social cohesion, peace and security in society.
Victor OCHEN, delighted on receiving the awards dedicated them to war victims and all young people,
“It is my honour to represent my home, this land of tragedy, but also a land of the origins of humankind, Africa. I stand here today to talk about the victims of war and I dedicate the Commonwealth Youth Worker Award to the victims of war and all the young people. I am child that saw nearly all kinds of sickness, abuses, and injustice in the north of Uganda. I’m very optimistic about the work of the youth in building peace and stability. We’ll see new generations of peacemakers” he said.
Other winners of the Commonwealth Youth worker awards were, Mr Christian Mizzi from Malta, Commonwealth Europe Youth Worker of the Year, and Ioane Tupou Nawaikula from Fiji was announced as Youth Worker of the Year for the Pacific. Muhammad Shahzad from Pakistan is Commonwealth Asia Youth Worker 2015, and Miguel ‘Steppa’ Williams from Jamaica is Youth Worker of the Year for the Caribbean & Americas.
Appreciation to the war victims’ communities and the youths all over that have made this journey possible as Victor continues to amplify the voices of the voiceless to even grander scales.
“I am very grateful for the recognition from the Commonwealth. To me, it is the best opportunity to promote young people’s contribution in the global agenda for development. I want to congratulate my colleagues from other regions as well but, above all, I want to congratulate the community that I serve which has inspired me…
…This is Time for Africa! Thanks to Commonwealth and together we will continue with our work of Creating the Paths to Peace in Africa and throughout the world.” Victor OCHEN
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