UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
SDGUN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Matthew Paa Kwesi Williams’ quest to join the United Nations in its efforts to create awareness on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) via photo has won him an international award.

Williams, a senior high school student of Morgan International Community School in Ghana, located at Gomoa Manso, some 90 km east of the capital, Accra, won the award of excellence in the SDGs student photo contest held in Japan recently.

The contest, launched in Japan last year, was aimed at encouraging students to reflect on the sustainable development goals from their own perspectives, expressing it through a photo.

The competition, which was initiated by the United Nations Information Center (UNIC) in Tokyo, and supported by the Sophia University with special cooperation from Getty Images Japan, called for pictures representing a clear problem or an abstract and creativity representing one’s thoughts.

Over 1,000 entries were received from students from 73 countries in this year’s competition.

Williams’ image, dubbed the “Struggle of Childhood”, was chosen to represent Goal One of the SDGs which aims at eradicating poverty in all its forms.

The picture depicted a child in one of the many rural areas of Ghana who has been out of school due to poverty.

The 17-year-old, who aspires to be a business economist, took advantage of his school’s location in a remote area in Ghana to take the picture of a young girl sweeping a school compound even though she does not attend school.

“I chose the goal no poverty because, look at her, she actually has no shoes on; her clothes are dirty and there is dirt all over her. This picture represents what is going on in many rural villages in Ghana,” he told the media in Accra on Tuesday.

Williams is an active member of the school’s creativity, activity and service (CAS) program which helps students to think globally while acting locally.

He appealed to the government to take actions and institute policies targeted at taking rural communities out of poverty in order to achieve the Goal One of the SDGs.

“If it wasn’t for where my school was located, I wouldn’t be able to have known that people were going through this condition in this current time. We can’t achieve SDG Goal Number One without helping everyone around us,” he said.

The School’s Creativity Coordinator, Anna Dankwaah Dick-Sagoe, said it was a joyful moment for the school when Williams was named among winners of the contest, adding that the recognition would serve as a platform for students to take up challenges.

The National Information Officer of the UNIC-Ghana, Cynthia Prah, said her outfit would continue to highlight the significance of the SDGs to Ghanaians from all walks of life.

For his award, Williams received prize money, a camera, a certificate of excellence and other goodies from the UN and Getty Images.

By Alex Osei-Boateng


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