A shortlist of three young people has been selected by a panel of experts from over 175 nominees from 46 countries, reflecting the impact and significance of a global recognition that offers the winner a worldwide platform of hundreds of millions to promote their work.
Each year the prize has been awarded by a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and in 2022, Tawakkol Karman, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate 2011, will declare the winner of the International Children’s Peace Prize. The winner will receive the Nkosi statuette along with a study and care grant for his or her education. The recipient will also receive a project fund of €100.000, half of which will support the winner’s cause, and half invested by KidsRights in other projects of other young changemakers fighting for children’s rights.
The ceremony will take place on November 14th in The Hague and will be livestreamed so that the winner’s message can reach a global audience.
Announcing the finalists, Malala said: “Young people feel the weight of the world’s problems falling on their shoulders. But they are also leading the call for change. This year’s nominees — Rena, Autumn and Shivansh — remind us of the power we all have to take notice and action on the most pressing issues of our time.”
This year’s shortlist features hugely impressive nominees from Japan, Canada and India.
Rena Kawasaki is a 16-year-old girl from Japan who is fighting for child participation. Autumn Peltier is an 18-year-old girl from Canada, inspiring children around the world and raising awareness of clean water advocacy. Shivansh Kulshrestha is a 16-year-old boy and is fighting for inclusive education.
Global youth environmental activist Autumn Peltier, also known as ‘The Water Protector’, has been advocating for clean water in Canada and beyond for many years. At the age of 12 Autumn attended the Government Assembly where she came face to face with PM Justin Trudeau and told him to take care of our children and protect the water.
Since then, Autumn has travelled all over the world advocating, and encouraging children to become activists. Autumn recently created a petition calling for clean drinking water, which currently has over 100,869 signatures, in First Nation Communities. She has partnered with DreamCatcher’s Water Fund to distribute and install over 400 filtration units in homes in First Nation communities currently struggling with access to clean water. In 2019, Autumn was elected as Chief Water commissioner for the Aniishnabek Nation to advocate for clean water, and ensure young people’s voices are heard.
Shivansh Kulshrestha has developed the first communication portal in India to assist children and adults with speech and hearing impairments. Shivansh discovered that video communication media failed to provide captioning for Indian languages. He saw a need in society and created Lingocap – a service for speakers of Indian languages with hearing impairments to facilitate communication with their loved ones. Amid Covid-19, which required many young people to take educational classes online, Shivansh realised deaf students were at a huge disadvantage and began using the platform to support deaf schools and other non-profit schools that lacked the infrastructure to support education through technology. Lingocap has received various accolades and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment have now launched the platform as the national portal for the education of children with hearing and speech impairment. The app has been instrumental in deaf schools around India and is currently implemented in 12 deaf schools with over 7 000 active users. It is also being used by 63 mentors to teach and support more than 1,200 deaf students in after-school education.
Rena Kawasaki was eight years old when she read a book in which she learned that there were children across the world who were unable to access education due to the political situations in their countries. Rena became determined to take action to help improve this. She began to participate in various volunteering projects to affect real change in other countries, but quickly realised that young people in Japan also face similar issues, as many struggle to express individuality and express themselves.
At the young age of 14 years old, she launched Earth Guardians Japan, an organisation that aims to create a new system, which allows children to be the change they want to see in the world. One of the most notable ways in which this was achieved was by connecting schools and local political representatives via virtual meetings.
Rena’s organisation is also focused on aiding the environment with projects such as running river cleaning in the local river at Juso, Osaka Japan. They also plan programmes for student entrepreneurs to propose ideas to large corporations in Japan. As a result of Rena’s work, her organisation is the youngest youth organisations officially working with the Japanese government ministry of environment to include the voice of young people in governmental operations.
Rena is known as the leading youth advocate in Japan and this has led to Rena being appointed as the youngest Chief Future Officer, for a bio-fuelled jet company in Japan. Owing to this achievement Tokyo’s government approached her to advise their team on reforming Tokyo’s region. Through the project – The Tokyo eSG project – Rena is working on the Tokyo Bay project, which envisages urban development looking ahead to 50 to 100 years. The purpose of the project is to create a sustainable city that combines nature and convenience and is estimated to impact the entire area of Tokyo, where 37 million people live. Rena was also invited to participate in the TURETECH project where she with her team developed a QR code system that would incorporate young people’s voices in decisions. This idea was adopted by the Mayor of Niihama and will impact the entire population of the city.
Rena’s ultimate goal is not to only ensure her generation has better opportunities, but that future generations have them too.
The International Children’s Peace Prize
The prestigious International Children’s Peace Prize was launched in 2005 during the World Summit of Nobel Peace laureates in Rome, chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev. The International Children’s Peace Prize is the most important and prestigious youth prize in the world. It is awarded annually to a child who has made a significant contribution to advocating children’s rights and improving the situation of vulnerable children. The message of the young winner is broadcast by international media and reaches hundreds of millions of people globally.
The prize is an initiative of Marc Dullaert, Founder and Chairman of the KidsRights Foundation. Marc said: “In a world full of crises, this year’s finalists of the International Children’s Peace Prize are beacons of hope for current and future generations. They are providing moral leadership and are an inspiration and an example to all of us.”
Impact and Legacy
KidsRights is proud of the global impact their laureates have made, such as 2006 winner Om Prakash, who was a former child slave. By winning the International Children’s Peace Prize he was able to place child slavery high on the agenda of the Indian government. In 2011 the then unknown Malala was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize. After this she became famous worldwide. In 2013, Malala Yousafzai was awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize in recognition of her bravery in speaking out for every girl’s right to an education. This was crucial for her winning of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, becoming the youngest ever Nobel laureate.
Last year’s winners of the International Children’s Peace Prize, Vihaan and Nav Agarwal, two brothers from Delhi, India were recognised for their work in setting up organisation One Step Greener preventing air pollution in Delhi. One Step Greener is now collecting waste from more than 1,000 households, schools and offices, so that the waste is segregated and not burned to avoid air pollution, recycling 173,630 kgs of waste up to this year. Four days after winning the International Children’s Peace Prize, the government of New Delhi introduced severe measures to tackle air pollution.