A Ghanaian youth, Richard Dzikunu has emerged winner of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Action Awards held in Bonn, Germany.
The awards recognize the most outstanding and innovative efforts to inspire action on the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of goals adopted by countries to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda.
Mr. Dzikunu is a Youth Power accountability advocate with Restless Development, a youth-led organization in the U.K and a member of Curious Minds, a leading youth-led organization in Ghana.
He is one of Restless Development 20 young experts from youth-led community-based organizations in Africa and Europe, who have designed and implemented a national monitoring framework to hold government accountable in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
As an advocate for women and girls’ rights, Richard with support from Restless Development, worked with a team to provide Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and contraceptive services for young people in Ghana.
He further provides education to rural mothers in on how to reduce maternal death and ensure safe delivery.
On the front of the United Nations, Mr. Dzikunu has been actively involved with UN processes; including attending and speaking at High level Plenary Sessions on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and how the youth can be partners in its implementation through youth involvement in policy, research and innovations.
At the just ended 72nd United Nations General Assembly, he advocated strongly for developing countries to mainstream gender activities into their development plans.
He was one of 16 young leaders, who joined a panel of expert including the Managing Director of the International Monetary fund, Christine Lagarde, during the 2017 European Development Days Summit in Brussels.
The Awards draw attention to the need to learn from change-makers from across the globe and celebrate the most impactful and innovative achievements contributing to the global sustainable development movement.
The first edition received over 740 nominations from 7 continents and 125 countries, ranging from Zambia to Fiji, from Benin to Norway, from civil society and grassroots initiatives to public sector and municipal government projects, as well as private sector engagements.
The UN SDG Action Campaign awards is a special initiative of the UN-Secretary General, administered by UNDP to create awareness about the 2030 Agenda, empower and inspire people across the world to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while generating political will and to help make the Goals attainable by 2030.
In his acceptance speech, Richard dedicated his award all young change makers for their dedication and commitment to the SDGs.
“There are many young people like me out there, they work so hard, they commit everything to volunteer work but gain little or no recognition for their work, but today I tell you, nothing goes unnoticed, it may not be rewarding financially, but we have to keep up until we see change. I have had my disappointments at some points, but the passion keeps me going. Be sure that someday, your work will be worth the sacrifices".