Meet The Ghanaian Who Is Up For An Award From The United Nations

Richard Dzikunu

Richard Dzikunu recently graduated with a Master of Arts in Development Communication from the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

With this academic success comes the anticipation to go on and win an international award that would bolster his work in the area of adolescent reproductive health and sexual education especially to women and girls.

Richard Dzikunu is a finalist of United Nations SDG Action Awards for his work on the Youth Power project.

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.

Here is what the United Nations SDG Action has to say about Richard Dzikunu’s work:

“Teenage pregnancy in Ghana hit an all-time high in the year 2014 with 750,000 girls between the ages of 15-19 years being pregnant. One of the major factors that contributed to this problem which still persists was the absence of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and limited knowledge and access to contraceptives for young people.

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As an advocate for women and girls’ rights, the changemaker behind this project began an initiative with the support of Restless Development; a youth-led organization in the UK, to provide CSE and contraceptive services for young people. Together with a team, they further provided education to rural mothers in on how to reduce maternal death and ensure safe delivery. In a conservative society where tradition and religion criticize the use of modern contraceptives and sex education, not many young people will dare to be open. Since 2015, this initiative has provided CSE to over 1,000 teenagers and educated 40 rural mothers on maternal health in Ghana. Some of the girls who benefitted from the education and services were able to avoid pregnancy and stay in school.

Two women and a Queen Mother (Traditional Leader) who benefited from the education on safe delivery have taken up advocacy roles as a community peer educators encouraging women to visit the hospital for safe delivery rather than going to traditional birth attendants who are not certified or trained. This initiative did not only end with education and service provision. Dzikunu also works with a team of two other advocates and 20 data collectors to compile a report that identified gaps and challenges that prevent young people from accessing CSE and contraceptive services.

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The findings of this report were presented to the Ghana Health Service and used the evidence influence the Ghana Adolescent Health Policy and Strategy. In 2017, Dzikunu was supported by Restless Development to present the report findings at 72nd United Nations General Assembly and subsequently in Tbilisi, Georgia during an Annual Showcase conference of the World Federation of United Nations Associations. By making these data and findings known to governments, civil society organization and other stakeholders, the project has received support such as grants from some organizations to continue empowering these young people.”

Such an impressive work from Richard, who is doing his best to shine a light on his part of the world.

Richard is also up for a people’s choice award at the United Nations SDG Action Awards, to help him win that click here an give him a five-star rating (wow rating).

The winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony on 21 March 2018, during the second edition of the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development, the world’s annual gathering to catalyze action for the SDGs, happening in Bonn, Germany (21-23 March 2018). For more information on the Awards.

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