We are delighted to be able to announce the two latest AstraZeneca Challenge Winners for LEAD 2030, who will each receive an award from AstraZeneca for work their organisations are doing to contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Diana Quintero,, through her non-profit Bive, is working to improve  health outcomes among people living in rural Colombia; and Edith Soria through her non-profit Create Purpose is working to address nutrition among orphan children in Mexico.  These young global health leaders have both previously been Young Health Programme Ambassadors at One Young World summits.

LEAD 2030 is an initiative set up by One Young World to match leading companies with some of the most inspiring and dynamic young people to achieve SDG targets. AstraZeneca is a champion of SDG 3 to ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’, and within that broad remit the Young Health Programme is really focusing on one very specific target (3.4) – ‘to reduce by one-third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) through prevention and treatment, and promote mental health and wellbeing’ by 2030.

Whilst the main YHP programmes have already reached over four million young people face-to-face it will require energy and innovation on an even greater scale to meet the goals of the SDGs - which is why the YHP is working hard to equip and empower young people to make even more of an impact through their own programmes and to develop themselves as leaders.

Diana’s ‘Bive’ initiative is already reaching over 20,000 mainly rural Colombians with an affordable healthcare service which is much quicker and more responsive than the national healthcare system, ensuring more rapid diagnosis and treatment. Diana has also created education programmes – the latest of which uses peer education to help rural youth to make healthier decisions in their lives, and has been supported by a YHP Step Up! grant. Again, innovation plays a part with the gamification of health education.

“With the Lead2030 award we can build on the knowledge, experience, and network of key players like AstraZeneca”, says Diana. “We look forward to using this strategic platform of collaboration to deliver a lasting change in the world and to involve the next generations in shaping a society that is more sustainable, equitable and happy”.

Edith has an equally strong social mission to help the most disadvantaged and disconnected in society. Starting with the orphanages of her native Tijuana in 2016, Edith co-founded Create Purpose to help Mexico’s over 400,000 children who live without parental care and at risk from violence, human trafficking and exploitation. These vulnerable youth are also likely to take up NCD risk behaviours and the central strand of Edith’s work is to educate them to improve their nutrition. This extends from teaching them to work together to produce healthy food organically, even in challenging urban environments, to ensuring that they receive healthy food in the orphanages.

“Being chosen as a Lead2030 winner is a life-changing opportunity and a dream come true!’ says Diana. "It will help me to gain leadership skills as a young health advocate to better serve my team and community. With this opportunity we hope to create systemic change by promoting heathy lives for all by 2030”.

As part of the award both Edith and Diana will receive mentorship from AstraZeneca to help them to improve their skills, grow their networks and scale up their work.

We wish them every success and look forward to reporting on their progress as Challenge Winners to provide inspiration to the many other young people who are helping to bring NCDs under control and provide a brighter future for today’s youth.