The SDG Youth Essay Competition (2019) is a unique competition organised by the Youth Empowerment Synergy, in partnership with 100% for the Children, under the REPOSITION- SDG Youth Action Campaign. The Competition was under the supervision of a specially constituted committee.

This year’s competition was launched on June 3, 2019. It was open to students enrolled in second cycle institution across the country. Applicants were to respond to the essay question “SDG 4 enjoins Ghana to ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes. In your view, how can this objective be achieved in your community by 2030?” Customized notepads were made available for pick up by interested applicants at designated points.

The deadline for submission of all entries was 5th July 2019. In all 549 were longlisted to be assessed, out of the 558 entries received. The nine scripts were submitted by individuals who were not enrolled in second cycle institutions, and therefore the basis for the rejection.

Out of the 549 scripts received, 61% was from female students, while 39% was from male students. The 549 scripts were received from 79 second cycle schools from all regions. The highest number of schools recorded was the Ashanti Region, which saw to the participation of 20 schools whilst only 3 schools in Upper East participated. Northern Region provided the highest number of scripts (126), whilst the Western Region provide the least (5). The highest age recorded was 25, whilst the least age recorded was 13.

However, most of the participating students were aged 17. A panel of independent assessors was constituted to evaluate all longlisted scripts received. Each assessor received an anonymised version of the scripts and assessed each script independently. Out of the 549 scripts, 20 were shortlisted to participate in a Second Level Assessment. For the top 20 applicants, 90% were females whilst 10% were males.

The 20 students also represented 9 schools in 5 regions. Ashanti Region provided 9 students, whilst Volta and Brong Ahafo Regions provided 1 student each.

On 28th August, 2019, the top 20 students in the company of teachers and family converged at the MJ Grand Hotel for the Second Level Assessment and Awards Ceremony. After a keenly contested quiz, Yolanda Amankwaah Danso, a student of St. Louis Senior High School was adjudged the winner of the Essay Competition.

For her prize, she won GHS5,000. Regina Koranteng of Mfantsiman Girls’ Senior High School placed second, winning a cash prize of GHS3,000. Caroline Kyeremateng, a student of Anglican Senior High School, Kumasi placed third and won GHS1,000.

Chleo-Patra Azantilow of St. Louis Senior High School and Joshua Ogyemoko Baleto of the Achimota School placed fourth and fifth respectively. All top 5 winners received a special certificate of recognition and new roles as SDG Youth Ambassadors. In attendance were the Ag.

UN Resident Coordinator and UNICEF Representative, Ghana, Ms. Anne-Claire Dufay; Executive Director, YES-Ghana, Mr. Emmanuel Edudzie; Ag. Board Chair of YES-Ghana and Senior Lecturer, UPSA, Dr. Joseph Tuffour; National Coordinator, Ghana CSOs Platform on SDGs, Mrs. Ugonna Ukaigwe; Regional Sepcialist, Monitoring and Evaluation, Millennium Promise Alliance, Dr. Seth Ohemeng-Dapaah; Head, Policy Influencing and Advocacy, West Africa Civil Society Institute, Ms. Omolara Balogun; Executive Director, Youth Advocates Ghana, Mr Emmanuel Ametepey; Economic Analyst, UNDP, Ms. Sylvia Senu and Ms. Patience Ampomah of the National Development Planning Commission.