Three outstanding Baganda have won the prestigious Queen’s Young Leader award for their service to the community. The Function was presided over the Queen of England Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at function in London. The Three are Elizabeth Kasujja, Stephen Katende, and Bazil Mwotta Biddemu
Elizabeth Kasujja won because of the work she is doing to use technology to transform the lives of people living with mental health issues in Uganda.
Her inspiration came after witnessing the stigma surrounding mental health in her community, and discovering that many mental health problems went undiagnosed due to a shortage of trained professionals and resources. This led Elizabeth to co-found Clear Yo Mind, which creates secure online platforms for people to express their feelings and access free help from mental health professionals.
Clear Yo Mind also offers a text message service, where users can request help, and secure one-to-one appointments with professionals outside of a hospital environment. Elizabeth is currently studying towards a Diploma in Psychology to further support her work.
Stephen Katende works to ensure that children in rural areas of Uganda are able to complete their education.
He is the director of Kisoboka Africa, which runs School Community Banks in the rural districts of Lyantonde and Lwengo that allow parents to save, borrow and invest for their children’s education. In addition, Kisoboka Africa equips parents with entrepreneurial and agricultural skills to help start and run their own businesses. The parents are also encouraged to engage with teachers to address any challenges their children are facing at school.
Stephen and his team now work with 150 parents in two schools, and have helped over 400 children to acquire an education. The organisation is also starting to operate Young Savers and Investment Clubs in rural primary schools so that children can learn how to save money and boost their leadership skills.
“It is a blessing to be part of the exceptional young people all over the world driving positive change in communities for vulnerable people to live better lives. I dedicate the Award to all vulnerable children struggling to get an education.”
Bazil Mwotta Biddemu was awarded because of the work he is doing to help farmers in his community thrive.
He is the founder of AgroDuuka, which helps farmers in Uganda access information about market prices for produce in their region. It is designed to act as a low-cost SMS platform to connect smallholder rural farmers directly to buyers, before and after their harvest.
To date, Bazil and his team have helped more than 800 farmers from 36 villages in Western and Central Uganda to gain a fair price for their produce. AgroDuuka has recently partnered with the Uganda National Farmers Federation, which is enabling almost five million farmers to have access to AgroDuuka.
“I’m so delighted to be made part of this great cohort of young enterprising leaders. This recognition of the work I do for my community will always serve as a motivation for me to continue helping in making the world a much better place than I found it, as well as inspiring my fellow youth to take on the lead to address the challenges in their communities.”