A pioneering young entrepreneur from Uganda, Dr Charles Batte, has been named as the winner of the Bright Ideas from a Young Commonwealth contest.
Charles, 28, presented his Bright Idea today (November 23) at the 10th Commonwealth Youth Forum in Malta. He is the founder and CEO of Tree Adoption Uganda (TAU), a youth-led social enterprise that works to jointly address the challenges of youth unemployment and climate change.
According to the UN Population Fund, Uganda has the world’s largest percentage of people under 30, at 78 percent. A 2013 study by ActionAid International Uganda estimated that youth unemployment stood at 62 percent.
TAU offers a six month programme of business training and mentoring to impoverished young people, helping them to create and develop and their own businesses.
Participants build start-up capital by establishing tree nurseries via TAU’s Tree Capital programme. Trees are ‘adopted’ by large companies as part of their corporate social responsibility, and re-planted as part of reforestation campaigns in Uganda.
Bright Ideas from a Young Commonwealth was launched on International Youth Day 2015. The initiative showcases the ideas and activities of Commonwealth young people who are leading positive change in their community, country or region.
Reflecting on his achievement, Charles said: “Winning this competition is an immense responsibility for me because I get to represent the voice, ideas and innovations of millions of other young people in the Commonwealth that are doing amazing work to create positive social impact in their own communities.”
Charles added: “It is also an opportunity for me to remind young people that our small contributions in our different communities when summed up constitute global change. We therefore must go back and work hard, knowing that we are contributing to an unprecedented global cause.”
Katherine Ellis, Director of Youth at the Commonwealth Secretariat said: “Charles is an outstanding young man whose entrepreneurial efforts towards economic and environmental impact are making a real difference in his community. Tree Adoption Uganda is a wonderful initiative, and it shows the innovative and creative thinking that epitomises a Bright Idea.”
A collection of inspiring Bright Ideas talks is hosted on YourCommonwealth.org, the website created and crafted by young people, students and emerging youth leaders. For information about hosting a Bright Ideas event and filming or recording the talk, read the Bright Ideas how-to guide.
Join the conversation through social media using these hashtags: #CWBrightIdeas #CYF2015
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