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Canon Trains Nigerian Teenagers to Celebrate UN SDGs

By Dipo Olowookere

Leading provider of imaging technologies and services, Canon, has marked the anniversary of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals along with thousands of individuals, organisations, and institutions across the globe.

In 2015 world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aim to serve as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

Canon marked the anniversary of those SDGs by celebrating Global Day to #Act4SDGs on September 25 with a special event in Nigeria in collaboration with Slum Art, a charity organisation with a mission to mentor and build creative talents in children from the neighbourhoods of Lagos.

During the event, and over a course of two weeks, photography training will be given to participants aged between 15-19 from three neighbourhoods in Lagos with the aim to give these young individuals the skills to be able to talk about the SDGs that are most important to them and the solutions they want to see through the art of visual storytelling.

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The event forms part of Canon’s Young People Programme and will be hosted by fully certified trainers from Canon’s Miraisha programme in Africa. The Miraisha programme was established in 2014 with the aim of building the capacity and skills of people in photography, videography and print in the African countries where Canon operates. The programme clearly demonstrates Canon’s commitment to its corporate philosophy of Kyosei: living and working together for the common good.

Roman Troedhandl, Managing Director, Canon Central and North Africa, said: “The art of visual storytelling is a powerful tool to bring recognition to social and environmental issues. Through the training we aim to support youth and give them the skills to be able to document in an image the critical issues they want to talk about from their local living environment. We are particularly honoured to have the trainers from the Miraisha programme because it demonstrates the initiative’s success.”

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Now in its fourth year, Canon’s Young People Programme seeks to contribute towards the achievement of the SDGs by giving young people a voice through harnessing the power of positive visual storytelling to drive change. The programme uses the SDGs as a framework to give young people the opportunity to talk about the global issues that affect their futures and by providing the right tools and coaching, it aims to bring participants’ stories to life. Canon has been delivering visual storytelling workshops for young people to date in 23 countries across Europe and has run events reaching more than 3,000 students.

‘Young people must be mobilized to participate in Agenda 2030 especially in Nigeria where they constitute the majority of the population. This initiative by Canon is an opportunity to leverage the innovativeness of Nigerian youth to deliver the SDGs in the country,’ said Edward Kallon, the UN Resident Coordinator for Nigeria.

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“If we want to make the SDGs happen, we need everyone to take action. Through our work with Canon we are giving young people an opportunity to get involved in the issues they care about, to tell their own stories of SDG Action and share them the world, and to join the global movement making the SDGs happen,” said Marina Ponti, Head of the Global Campaign Center, UN SDG Action Campaign

Once the participants have selected their final imagery, Slum Art and Canon will place the imagery in the World Largest Photo Album, as per the Guinness Book of Records.  In doing so, the young people’s images will get the attention of local people, policy makers and help inspire action.

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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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