Commonwealth Youth Council Poetry Competition 2021

Are you a proactive writer? Do you have what it takes to see your articles on the large publishing platforms in the world? Commonwealth Youth Council is inviting Applications for Commonwealth Youth Council Poetry Competition for Applicants of Commonwealth Country.

The theme of the competition is “My disability does not define me.”To commemorate World Braille Day, the Commonwealth Youth Council launches “Unseen & Unspoken.”

This is a segment of creative expression of the #iamABLE campaign through the art of poetry. The theme of the competition is “My disability does not define me.” The theme can be interpreted in many ways – writers could focus on achievements and talents they have in spite of a disability, or positive traits they have or have developed as a result of their disability.

The process is now open to make nominations for the 2022 Commonwealth Youth Awards, which offer successful candidates international recognition and cash prizes.

Celebrating contributions by young people

The aim of the awards is to celebrate the outstanding contributions by young people delivering development and progress in Commonwealth countries and communities towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Announcing the 2022 edition of the awards on International Youth Day, Commonwealth Secretary-General The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC said:

“As well as being a global health emergency, the COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in social and economic crises which are severely affecting young people and have far-reaching consequences for their lives and future careers.

“Yet even in these times of such uncertainty and upheaval, we are inspired by young people whose imagination and leadership is helping to mobilize positive responses so that our nations and communities can build back better and with greater resilience.”

She added: “The awards are a golden opportunity for these heroes, and those who work with them, admire them or benefit from what they are doing, to put forward their innovations and initiatives for recognition by the Commonwealth and to bring them to global attention.

“By sharing their inspiring example far more widely, we and many millions of people of all ages worldwide will learn about new and practical ways to deliver a safer, fairer, more inclusive, and more sustainable future for all.”


Young people from the 54 Commonwealth countries can enter five regional categories: Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and Canada, and the Pacific.

An independent Pan-Commonwealth jury will judge the nominations based on their impact, sustainability, and innovation.

The jury will shortlist 20 finalists, who will each receive a trophy, a certificate, and £1,000 in cash, and from them, five regional award recipients will be chosen and will receive an additional £2,000.

One of the regional award recipients will be accorded further recognition as Commonwealth Young Person of the Year and a total cash prize of £5,000.

To mark the celebration next year of the Platinum Jubilee of the Head of the Commonwealth, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT) has joined as a partner to offer to a selected applicant two years of flexible funding of £20, 000 a year, as well as coaching opportunities and organizational development support.

The finalists and regional winners will be announced during Commonwealth Week in March 2022.


To submit an entry, an applicant must be:

  • a Commonwealth citizen;
  • between the age of 15 to 29 years; and
  • have been engaged in development work for at least 12 months as a professional or volunteer.

Nominees must show a strong track record of implementing impactful development work which contributes to at least one of the 17 SDGs.

To be eligible for the additional QCT prizes, applicants must be aged 18 to 29 years old, and the founder or co-founder of a social enterprise.

Nominations must be received by 23:59 BST on 17 October 2021.


  • The poem must include a title and must not exceed 30 lines in length (not including the title)
  • Poems cannot exceed/cannot be longer than 400 words
  • Entries must be based on the theme
  • Poems must be the original work of the applicant.
  • Entries must not have been published, published on a website, or featured as a winner in another competition before the 31st of May.
  • Entries must be written in English
  • Handwritten entries will not be accepted.

Guidelines for submission

  • For the hearing-impaired: Submissions can be made in the written form of sign language that is video recorded. If the submission is by video recording in sign language, then it must be accompanied by an interpreter (who does not count as a team member) doing a voice-over. Alternatively, the video must have subtitles.
  • For the visually impaired: Submissions can be made in braille level 2 (English) or audio and video recordings of the reading of the poetry.
  • All entries will be judged anonymously so the following information must be provided with submission email: Name of Author(s), Date of birth, Citizenship, and Title of the poem on a separate sheet if posted or emailed.
  • Submission can be made by post to: Commonwealth Youth Council, Commonwealth Secretariat, FAO: Lawrence Muli, Room E101, Youth Division, Marlborough House, Pall Mall, St. James’s, London SW1Y 5HX
  • Submission can be made by email to:

Application Deadline:

The deadline for the poetry competition may have passed but do well to continue checking the site for updates


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