Ephraim Okon has dedicated to his life to improving life in Nigeria – both in his role at Population Media Center (PMC) and as a local leader and traditional title holder in his Clan in Akwa Ibom State. In recognition of his commitment to his community and the life-changing work he does, Okon has been awarded an Ambassador of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Award (SDG Award).
SDG Awards are decided by public poll and recognize outstanding individuals working to make their communities a better place following the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Okon was recognized for his contributions to two of the 17 goals set in place by the UN – Good Health and Well Being and Reduced Inequality.
“My nomination coming from a public poll really goes a long way to show not just the integrity and excellence of the award but that our efforts have been impactful over the years,” says Okon. “I am full of gratitude to all for finding me worthy for this noble award.”
Okon, who found himself nominated for the award amongst high chiefs and governors, is a true advocate for health and wellbeing in his community and believes in accessible health care for all – including family planning services.
“Women and girls of childbearing age need to have the ability to make well-informed decisions and choices on family planning and reproductive health practices, they also need to be able to vaccinate their children against deathly viruses. Promoting good health cannot be over emphasized,” says Okon.
Okon leads the PMC-Nigeria team and played an integral role in launching Jolokoto, the most recent of PMC radio shows in Nigeria, addressing the rights of women and girls broadcast in Nigeria from 2018-2020.
“The aspect of my work that makes me most proud is our ability to deploy effective communication strategies for promoting positive behavior change around health and socio-economic issues,” says Okon.
He is also particularly proud of the collaboration and creativity that goes into every PMC-produced show.
“Each show uses local teams of writers, producers, and actors who create the program with twists and cliffhangers, giving the audience an entertaining and emotional way to learn, absorb, and discuss important social messages…. All of this makes me very proud and happy,” says Okon.
When asked what most inspires Okon to do the work he does, with PMC and on his own time, Okon shared that elevating and encouraging others is a high priority.
“Mobilizing people into taking actions together has the potential to raise awareness, to make the government and policy makers listen to our voices, and perhaps change strategies to lift people out of extreme poverty,” says Okon.
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