Young Woman Of The Year Award
The Young Woman of the Year Award, not only focuses on issues of concern to women, but to youth as well. The United Nations has only recently put aside a day for youth. Focusing on young people’s quest for identity and a way to find meaning and a place in the world, International Youth Day was first celebrated on 12 August 2000, after the United Nations endorsed the recommendation of the World Conference of Ministers responsible for Youth in 1999.
In commemoration therefore, of the ideals behind the celebration of International Youth Day, International Women’s Day and in the attempt to groom young women to take over the reins of the movement, the Network of NGOs first presented the Young Woman of the Year Award in September 2003.
From concept to finish, however, youth members of the Network are in the driver’s seat. The year 2003 marked the first time that such a major Network event was placed entirely in their hands. The committee of young women agreed that their peers were not being afforded the accolades that their mothers would, and as such conceived an award ceremony that would celebrate the remarkable achievements of young women in Trinidad & Tobago.
All the nominations entered are amazing stories of triumph over adversity and excellence in fields not traditionally populated by women. In the Award criteria, three categories were outlined (Agriculture, Environment, Business Enterprise, Arts & Culture, Community Work and Sports), from which three nominees were chosen as finalists. Each category is judged separately to declare a winner in that category. Then, from each of the winners in each category, the overall winner of the Young Woman of the Year is chosen.
Goals and ObjectivesThe Young Woman of the Year Award has as its goal: “To significantly enhance the value assigned to, and bring to public attention, the personal and professional achievements of young women between the ages of 18 and 30 in Trinidad and Tobago.” The objectives the Award expects to achieve are:
- To focus on young women’s quest for identity and a way to find meaning and a place in the world
- To publicly recognise the achievement of young women in the fields of Agriculture, Environment, Business Enterprise, Arts & Culture, Community Work and Sports.
- To record the achievements of all women nominated in each category
- To deliver, to each finalist and to the winner of the Award, a sum of money to set the stage for or further their professional goals or objectives
- To facilitate a social and/or professional network of all nominees to continue to support each other in their respective lives and careers
During the period of 11- 15 July 2007, the Network of NGOs shall issue a public call for nominations of young women who will meet the following criteria:
- Between the ages of 18 and 30 (or will attain the age of 18 or 30 before 23 September 2007)
- Nationals of Trinidad and Tobago
- Not the recipient of any national or international award or accolade
- Completed nomination form
- Profile summary of the applicant, which can be no longer than 2 pages
- Nomination letters (from 2 individuals who have known the nominee for at least than 2 years)
- An individual nominated in this category must be currently engaged in any legitimate agricultural activity either as owner, part owner, manager, or other significant party.
- An individual nominated in this category must be currently engaged in an activity that promotes or educates about environmental awareness, either at community, national, regional or international level.
- Currently engaged in any legitimate business activity either an owner, part owner, manager, or other significant party.
Arts & Culture
- Currently engaged in a cultural activity (visual arts, dance, drama, music) either at community, national, regional or international level.
- Currently engaged as a significant leader, in a social development activity within or on behalf of a community.
- Currently engaged in a sporting activity, either as an athlete, official or administrator at community, national, regional or international level.
Adjudication ProcessA judging panel of five individuals (one of which will be a member of the Network of NGOs Executive) will process all the applications and select, using a scoring sheet and through discussion, three finalists in each of the four categories. The finalists will be notified of their status, by letter and by phone, as soon as the decision is made. One week later, the five judges will again meet to decide the winner in each category.
This decision will be based on the original application and supplemented by a panel interview of the finalists. Once the category finalists are determined, the judging panel will again interview those three individuals to determine the Young Woman of the Year. This decision will be based on the original application, both interviews and the overall impression of the judges.
The WinnersThe Young Woman of the Year Award, hosted by The Network of Non-Governmental Organisations of Trinidad & Tobago for the Advancement of Women, is meant to showcase a mere sprinkling of the talent, perseverance, dedication and spirit of young women in this country. Nominations are invited from young women, between the ages of 18 and 30, who have made significant contributions and/or achievement in the areas of Environment, Agriculture, Business Enterprise, Arts & Culture, Community Work and Sports.
- The first Young Woman of the Year, Shane de Silva, was nominated in 2003 in the Sport category. She is a FIFA football referee, a member of the West Indies Women’s Cricket team, as well as a physical education instructor for physically challenged youth.
- The 2004 Young Woman of the Year, Renee Alfred is a Tobagonian who is currently pursuing Medicine at the University of the West Indies. She was nominated however, in the Community Work category for her outstanding work with a prominent dance troupe in the sister isle.
- The 2005 Young Woman of the Year, Cherry Ann Rajkumar haling from Sangre Grande currently an Attorney and has her own practice, The Civil and Criminal Advisor. She graduated from University of the West Indies with a BA in Literature and Theatre Arts.
The 2005 Young Woman of the Year finalists enjoyed significant media coverage in the print and electronic media and a complete collection of these appearances is being archived as part of a workshop presentation to be made this year’s finalists. It is hoped that further examination can be made of the lives of these young women – making them role models for youth and adults alike.
The Network of NGOs believes that the Young Woman of the Year Award will serve not only to bring value to the good work being done by young women in Trinidad & Tobago, but also encourage others to do more to make their families, communities and country proud.