UN discusses the role of youth in the SDGs with students in the Eastern Region

Eastern Region, Ghana, 25 – 27 October 2017 – As part of UN Day observation in Ghana, the UN Communications Group, led by UNIC Accra, and a team of UN Volunteers, representing UNICEF, FAO, UNFPA, UNDP and the Resident Coordinator’s office and representatives from the Ghana United Nations Students Association (GUNSA) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (MoFARI) have embarked on a 3-day outreach event on the Sustainable Development Goals and on volunteerism.

A student explains Goal 1

The team first stopped at the St, Martins Senior High School (SHS) in Adoagiri, Nsawam in the Eastern region of Ghana where some 500 students from St. Martins SHS and the Islamic Girls SHS were taken through the 17 SDGs. Following the presentations, 17 students volunteered to give a recap of their selected Goals.  They aptly summarised the goals in their own words to the admiration of the team, citing lack of descent jobs, youth unemployment, poverty and unsanitary conditions as major issues requiring urgent actions.

The next stop was at Aburi Girls SHS where over 300 students from two SHSs got the opportunity to learn more about the SDGs, the various UN

A cross section of students

offices in the country and the concept of volunteerism. Welcoming the team, the Headmistress of Aburi Girls SHS, Mrs. Alice Prempeh-Fordjour expressed her appreciation to the UN team for choosing their school for the outreach to impart knowledge on the theme “SDGs and our Developmental Needs: The role of the youth”. Following the nearly 3-hour engagement with the students, 18-year old Emefa Adjaho told UNIC Accra: “the session has made me realise how essential the role of the United Nations is in addressing the challenges we are facing”.  “I now understand the work of the United Nations more and I hope one day I will work with the UN” she added.

The final leg of the outreach event was held at Pope John Senior High and Junior Seminary, where the UN team were joined by staff from the MoFARI. Over 500 enthusiastic students came from the host school, Koforidua Technical Institute (KTI), Oti Boateng SHS, Ghana SHS and Seven Days Adventist SHS. In an interview, 19-year-old Ms Love Narh of KTI said “the perennial

A cross section of the audience

development problems of the world are being compounded by our own behavior” and was hopeful that the SDGs will reduce them or eliminate them completely. For Michael Coffie, having 108 students in one classroom, impedes effective teaching and learning. He therefore hopes the government will consider SDG4 a priority to ensure quality education is provided to all Ghanaians.

These outreach events are held annually by the UNCG under the leadership of the UN Information Centre and they seek to offer the youth the opportunity to learn more about the global development agenda, the role of the UN and of their country to make the world a better place, and what they can do in their own ways to make change. It further creates the platform for UN staff to interact with students in attempt to inspire their career choices.

SDGs student ambassadors

The students were encouraged to form SDGs clubs in their schools and to serve as SDGs ambassadors in their various communities.