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UNIC lauds 17-year-old winner of 2017 SDGs Photo Contest 

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC Accra) has praised  17-year-old Ghanaian, Matthew Paa Kwesi Williams, for emerging winner of the just ended SDGs Student Photo Contest held in Japan, Tokyo.

The 17-year-old, Matthew Paa Kwesi, an International Baccalaureate Diploma student of Morgan International Community School at Gomoa Manso in the Central Region, was adjudged one of the winners of award of excellence for the best image “the struggle of childhood” which highlighted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speaking at a press briefing in Accra on Tuesday, November 14, the National Information Officer of UNIC Accra, Ms. Cynthia Prah lauded Matthew for putting Ghana on the global map with the best image which sheds light on the SDGs 1

She hinted of plan to organize similar event in the future at the national level in partnership with sister organization, UNIC Tokyo to promote the SDGs.

“The SDGs are our baby, we need to ensure that Ghana follows through and by the end of 2030 we would’ve achieved a lot if not at all, ensure that no one is left behind,” she stressed.

Ms. Prah also used the occasion to appeal to institutions and philanthropists in the country to come on board and support the winner in his bid to roll out a project to address the challenges of poverty, a major problem in Ghana.

On her part, Head of Morgan International Community School, Ms. Felicia Sackey said key principles embraced by the school which hinge on innovation, creativity and critical thinking coupled with words of encouragement and mentorship from teachers have contributed to the success story of the Matthew Paa Kwesi Williams.

Matthew stood tall among his competitors with the best photo captioned “No one has it easy in life” and a title “the struggle of childhood” that won him the award of excellence. His image sheds light on the plight of a poor girl child whose determination to keep her poverty stricken, filthy environment clean without wearing a slippers or sandals. In his titled story, Paa Kwesi narrates he derived inspiration in taking the picture realizing that the child was covered in dirt and had no sandals or slippers to wear, describing the passion she worked with as “simply amazing”.

“What caught my eye was the fact that even though her broomstick got disbanded, she got down on her bare knees to pick up the broomsticks so she could continue working”

He said: “With help from United Nations Social Development Goals, I believe the lives of such children can be improved and their burden lessened”.

He took home JPY20, 000 [USD178], a Nikon digital camera, 2 photobooks including a certificate of recognition for his prize.

Matthew who aspires to be a business economist and entrepreneur in the near future believes the world should be a better place for all humans devoid of poverty and children should be made to enjoy better and equal opportunities to live a life of dignity.

With determination to see his country achieve the SDGs 1, Matthew has hinted of creating an online platform (“Pixel Action”), a project will be embarking upon to promote the agenda 2030 in his own small way.

The SDGs photo contest is the first of its kind which was launched in Japan last year, amassing a total of 624 entries from 47 countries, including Ghana.

The competition was initiated by UNIC Tokyo and Sophia University with special cooperation from Getty Images, Japan and endorsed by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Global Compact Network, Japanese International Cooperation Japan (JICA), Japan Civil Society Network on SDGs.

By Joseph Kobla Wemakor/UNIC Accra

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