Winners of the first United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Action Awards announced

The Awards Ceremony honored winners in seven categories during the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development in Bonn, Germany, highlighting transformative action for the SDGs around the world

March 21, 2018 (Bonn) – The winners of the first United Nations SDG Action Awards have been announced this Wednesday by the UN SDG Action Campaign, demonstrating the extraordinary momentum towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in different corners of the earth.

See photos of the Awards Ceremony

The Awards Ceremony was held in tandem with the second edition of the Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development in Bonn, Germany, and honored initiatives in the categories of communicator, connector, includer, innovator, mobilizer, storyteller, and visualizer.

“These are ‘Action’ Awards because we need more than words: our winners dared to believe and act for change. They are perfect examples of the wonderful work that’s happening around the world led by thousands, if not millions, of people”, said Mitchell Toomey, Global Director of the UN SDG Action Campaign.

The winning initiatives are fighting corruption in Nigeria, mobilizing Belgians to implement the SDGs in their daily lives, empowering children through photography and digital skills in Bangladesh, promoting human rights education in Sri Lanka and much more. Evidencing the multi-sectoral engagement to achieve the SDGs, the winners span over private and public sectors, as well as civil society and grassroots movements.

Over 700 nominations from 125 countries in 7 continents were submitted. An expert judging panel evaluated submissions against the degree to which actions were deemed to be transformative, inclusive and impactful.

In addition, an open vote was held on the website of the UN SDG Action Campaign where visitors could rate their favorite among the 38 finalists to win the People’s Choice Award.

“Great solutions for the world’s challenges can come from anywhere. We hope everyone is inspired by these stories and consider submitting their nominations for future Awards. These are the first winners of a community that will continue to grow”, said Toomey.


The UN SDG Action Campaign is a special initiative of the UN-Secretary General, administered by the 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 help make the Goals attainable by 2030. For more information, please visit


The Global Festival of Action for Sustainable Development is the world´s annual event to celebrate, empower, and connect the global community driving Action for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Organised by the UN SDG Action Campaign with the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Festival connects an inspiring mix of business leaders, activists, UN representatives, academia, governments, innovators, global organisations, and the media from across the globe. Taking place in Bonn each year, the Festival provides a dynamic and interactive space to showcase the latest innovations, tools, and approaches to SDG action and connect organizations and individuals from different sectors and regions to exchange, build partnerships, and make the impact of their solutions scale.

Shamba Chef: Using Reality TV to Inspire Clean Cooking

Mass media for good is not an oxymoron! A reality show giving tips for sustainability is happening

Mass media for good is not an oxymoron! A  reality show giving sustainability tips

Shamba Chef is a reality television and radio series focused on cooking and nutrition. The show is filmed in real households with mothers as the primary focus. The stories they tell of the challenges faced in the kitchen are common to families across the country as 80% of the Kenyan population uses polluting fuels for cooking, 35% of Kenyan children are stunted and millions are nutrient deficient.

Shamba Chef has been created to address these critical issues through informative and educational entertainment. The show highlights the dangers and discomforts of cooking with inefficient, polluting stoves and fuels and raises awareness about solutions. It also introduces families to nutritious recipes and provides practical tips for sustainable farm and food management.

By sharing the experiences of real Kenyan women in the kitchen, Shamba Chef inspires Kenyans to make changes to their cooking practices and diets, thereby improving the health and well-being of their families. By gaining access to cleaner and more efficient cookstoves and fuels, women also have more time to engage in other productive activities that lead to greater economic empowerment and gender equality. Scaling up clean cooking also combats global air pollution and climate change.

The 13 part TV series aired weekly from September to December 2017 on Citizen, Kenya’s most popular TV station, in both English and Swahili. It attracted an average of 3 million viewers per week and was rated the most popular TV show in its time slot on Sunday afternoons. Each episode was adapted for a weekly radio series broadcast on national radio and audience were invited to subscribe to a free interactive mobile platform called iChef to access more information. Over 40,000 SMS were received and 17,500 viewers have subscribed to the service. High audience figures show evidence of an excitement in the show, demonstrating how mass media storytelling can stimulate interest and inspire aspiration and change. Mediae is looking for partners and funders to work with them to develop the concept, and build on the show’s following, to create multiple series to be broadcast annually.

The impact of the program will continue to grow as households are empowered by giving them the information they need to take action to accelerate adoption of cleaner energy solutions and better nutrition. Reaching people at scale with evidence based, informative, yet also entertaining and motivating content, can have a transformational impact in making progress toward the SDGs across the globe.

Who is behind this?

Kate Lloyd Morgan

For more information:


Creative Youth Initiative Against Corruption (CYIAC)

The CYIAC anti-corruption awareness campaign “CYIAC Corruption Busters (CCB)” targeted the general public in Nigeria to draw attention to corrupt practices associated with their everyday life and its unimaginable negative impact on individuals and society. The campaign was launched in December, 2017 to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day. So far, it has reached over 1 million people through CCB TV channel on, social media engagement and “Corruption Busters goes to School”, a special school programme

The CYIAC anti-corruption awareness campaign “CYIAC Corruption Busters (CCB)” targeted the general public in Nigeria to draw attention to corrupt practices associated with their everyday life and its unimaginable negative impact on individuals and society. The campaign was launched in December, 2017 to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day. So far, it has reached over 1 million people through CCB TV channel on, social media engagement and “Corruption Busters goes to School”, a special school programme

The biggest impediment in Nigeria for achieving the SDGs is corruption. It has led to total breakdown of systems, society, ethical and moral values. The dream of a sustainable nation is impossible until corruption is proactively destroyed; hence the creation of Creative Youth Initiative Against Corruption  (CYIAC) to tackle the menace. The CYIAC strategy is channeled towards sustainable corruption prevention, with clear goals; working towards achieving SDGs in 2030.

The team moves from Vision to Implementation through CSRE: – Clear Vision -Sound Strategy to achieve the goals -Right tools to persuade key people to take action -Effective Execution. The pillar of CSRE is hinged on youth engagement to transform our world. It’s a daring ambition; achievable through tenacity and sense of purpose; the CYIAC team possesses this unbeatable quality. CYIAC is currently empowering youth towards economic and social development, leading to wider participation of youth nationwide.

CYIAC 2016 Award Winner, Anjola Olarenwaju (15 years) is a change influencer in her community in Badagry, Lagos. She’s empowering youth to promote #UnitedAgainstCorruption with her creativity for development, peace and justice. Her painting/song/poetry was innovated to produce CCB-Hands on Canvass. She released her first song in 2017, having gone through CYIAC Leadership training. She is a student, an entrepreneur and CYIAC Integrity Ambassador, she has been selected as a trainer for the incoming 2018 finalists.

The CYIAC anti-corruption awareness campaign tagged “CYIAC Corruption Busters (CCB)”
Animated Movie Series targeted general public with a view to draw the attention of general public to corrupt practices associated with their everyday life and its unimaginable negative impact on individuals and society. CCB campaign was launched on December 9, 2017 to mark International Anti-Corruption Day. So far, It has reached over 1 million people through CCB TV channel on, social media engagement and Corruption Busters goes to School, a special school programme.

The project would like to have in the near term an Organisation of Nationwide Creative Challenge contest. The finalists’ ideas will be innovated for problem solving. Also in the coming future, the Promotion of Techy Girls Initiative will be launched, for effective participation of girls in leadership whilst enhancing the use of enabling technology.

The team would also like to influence policy makers to effectively implement changes to boost economy and launch a Leadership Academy at ICCD to train young political/business leaders with integrity. The overall mission of this initiative is to give birth to a New Nigeria free from the massive looting of treasury, injustice, nepotism, tribalism and underdevelopment, and promote zero tolerance to corruption.

CCB Corruption- the Musical theme song was sang and performed by an upcoming young
Nigeria Afrocentric artiste -Adegboyega to involve the creative industry whilst drawing attention of the
general public to anti-corruption message:

Who is behind this?

Foluke Michael

For more information:


SDGs and Digital Realities

Recreating a school in a virtual world using the online game Minecraft? Let´s play!

Recreating a school in a virtual world using the online game Minecraft? Let’s play!

The SDGs will only be reached if the goals and their targets can be meaningfully brought to life in a school community and not only at the tables of policymakers. Yet how often are young people invited to act on the SDGs?

Accepting the challenge, this team sought to achieve sustainable development in a school in Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland, by recreating that school in a virtual world and redesigning it to align with the SDGs using the online game Minecraft. As a partnership project with secondary school Presentation College Bray and human rights charity 80:20 Educating and Acting for a Better World, the aim was to produce an open-world thinking platform to enable the whole school community to be involved in mapping environmental and social footprints with the potential of the SDGs.

Inverting the often top-down dissemination of education, the project began with this unique context and analyzed it using the goals; enabling participants to become active producers and engineers empowered with visualizing how these changes might look as a planning project led by young people. The challenge was on the languages. Textual language is often the typical vehicle for policy development. Visualization, however, can be empowering, lasting and bridges words with imagined realities. This initiative galvanized students to lead on visual design-based thinking linked to sustainable development, gradually involving 37 students (ages 13-17), 11 teachers and staff from 80:20.

The ‘sustainable school’ model was created by the community and for the community; each modification reflected one of the 169 targets and underpinned by the 5 P’s of the SDGs (people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership) in what kind of school they would like to see by 2030. Students drove new ideas in transforming the school into an SDG-friendly community and acted as spokespeople and champions of the visual design experiment, such as:

  1. field visits and peer-exchanges with other social justice student groups and peer-platforms such as the Let’s Talk project;
  2. presentations with national and SDG platforms, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Sustainability Research Coordination Group; Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland;
  3. used social media: 20,000 project video views, and findings published in a research portfolio.

The project’s next steps are 1) to use a sustainable development open-world design model to test priority action ideas to bring about changes in the wider school community and accelerate other schools in getting started with their important role in implementing the SDGs; and 2) to share ideas and methodologies with schools and SDG stakeholders locally, nationally and globally to empower all educational institutions to nurture whole-community involvement in sustainable planning and visualisation.

Who is behind this?

Clifton Rooney, Tony Daly, Shane McInerney and Stuart Hannon.

For more information:

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NDC-SDG Connections

Global agreements are okay but… let´s bring some action!

Major global agreements, overlapping agendas –  Finding synergies to take action!

In an ever increasingly complex world we are observing a multitude of documents that contain concrete national commitments to the global common good of sustainable development. The two guiding global agreements -the Paris Climate Agreement and the 2030 Agenda- seek to halt climate change and foster sustainable development within planetary boundaries. To keep a systematic overview on these multiple commitments, to identify gaps where action is needed and to foster learning across countries and regions, NDC-SDG Connections visualises how concrete climate action commitments in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of countries can support the achievement of a multitude of SDGs and their targets at global, regional and national level.

NDC-SDG Connections provides a knowledge hub for thematic connectivity of the two global agendas that are kept separate in implementation but benefit heavily from thematic complementarity in implementation. This knowledge hub has been taken up very positively by nation states, asking for support to deepen their national dialogue of stakeholders to achieve the two agendas as one, as well as at UN level to foster synergies between the two agendas and achieve the global common good of sustainable development.

In a next step, this knowledge hub aims at integrating the actions and commitments countries have given in their sustainable development processes to implement the 2030 Agenda in order to truly carve out at global, regional and national level the thematic overlaps and gaps between the two agendas. Knowing about overlaps allows reducing redundancies in activities, identifying the gaps is of utmost importance to strengthen action to leave no one behind.

This initiative aims at stimulating the thematic dialogue across policy sectors to implement both agendas consistently and to provide a platform for learning from each other and jointly contributing to sustainable development for all and within our planetary boundaries.

Who is behind this?

Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) / Stockholm Environment Institute

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Fiji Climate Change VR: ‘Our Home, Our People’

We all need love in (climate) action, even if it is through virtual reality

We all need love in (climate) action, even if it is through virtual reality

The Fijian value of vei lomani (“love in action”) is at the heart of this initiative that seeks to raise awareness of the impacts of climate change through immersive virtual reality storytelling. The project, which also uses a host of online and offline content, transports viewers to rural Fiji to meet Catalina, Asmita, Rai and Rupeni; to experience the impact that climate change is already having on Fiji and the wider Pacific, and to understand that while Pacific Islanders have done nothing to cause climate change, they are standing tall and adjusting to its impacts with strength, resilience and a deep sense of community.

This film was produced with the aim of bringing the climate change experience of Fiji – one of the world’s most climate vulnerable countries – to the city of Bonn in Germany, where COP23 brought together representatives from all around the globe in November 2017. More than 3500 delegates at COP23 experienced the film in headset format across three spaces, including global climate change influencers Michael Bloomberg and President of COP, Fijian Prime Minster, Frank Bainimarama. The film has now been watched online by more than 600,000 viewers since November.

This project was truly a collaborative project between a team of storytellers from across the Pacific, together with the Fijian Government, the World Bank and COP23 Secretariat. And the spirit of Fijians and “vei lomani” was at the heart of all aspects of the work: from filming in the hills and coastlines of rural Fiji, to pre- and post-production in Suva, Sydney and Washington. The team involved all deeply believe that in today’s world, we all need more vei lomani: it can not only underpin the world’s approach to climate change – making choices to help one another (whether now or for generations to come) – but also how we can all live a more fulfilling, happier life. The project is a vehicle for sharing this uniquely Fijian value with the world.

Looking ahead, the project will be exhibited at a number of museums and events throughout Asia-Pacific in the coming months, including a comprehensive tour across its ‘home’ in Fiji.

Who is behind this?

LEAD PRODUCER –  Tom Perry, The World Bank
ASSISTANT PRODUCER – Kara Mouyis, The World Bank
CULTURAL ADVISORS – Ken Cokanasiga & George Nacewa
WRITER – Arieta Tora Rika, Talanoa
BRANDING & DESIGN – Heidi Romano & Lainee Fagafa

For more information: