Ubongo and Open planet to be honoured with MIP SDG awards

Recipients mark the Fifth Edition of award established in association with the United Nations. It is recognition of actions linked to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the international organization.

19 MAR 2024

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The audiovisual industry recognizes the interest in human development: MIPTV announced that two global changemaking companies, Ubongo, Africa’s leading creator of children’s edutainment, and Open Planet, a visionary free access environmental footage library, will each be recognised with a MIP SDG AWARD. It will bepresented in association with the United Nations, at the upcoming MIPTV Spring International Television Market (8-10 April 2024).

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the planet’s blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. Established in 2020 to support the UN’s Decade of Action campaign, which calls for more ambitious action to achieve the SDGs by 2030, the MIP SDG AWARD recognises how progress on the SDGs can be accelerated by editorial, campaigning and business practices within the television industry. Previous recipients include A+E Networks, ACT1, Junk Kouture, Sky and natural history producers Studio Silverback.

Attracting submissions from 24 countries, the 2024 winners have been selected from over 70 entries by an international jury of social responsibility experts, producers and past winners comprised of Mo Abudu (CEO, EbonyLife Media), Troy Armour (CEO, Junk Kouture), Márcia Balisciano (Chief Sustainability Officer, RELX Group), Amanda Hill (CEO, We Are On Purpose) and Hyeonza Hong (Founder and Director Green Goals Singapore).

In just over a decade, Ubongo has evolved from a grassroots initiative in Tanzania to a pan-African social enterprise, harnessing the reach of mass media in TV, radio, and mobile to provide quality educational content and transforming the learning experiences for an estimated 500 million children across the continent. Reaching an estimated 42 million families in 23 countries through its highly scalable model, the non-profit organization serves more children and families with child-centric early learning resources than any other educational intervention in Africa. It will be presented with a MIP SDG AWARD in recognition of its progression of inclusive and equitable quality education (SDG Goal 4).

The ever-growing Open Planet library offers free access to high-quality footage and scientifically accurate visuals, unlocking barriers for content creators and story tellers to better explain and respond to the planet’s challenges and solutions. It was launched in 2023 by Studio Silverback, (a previous MIP SDG AWARD winner) in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University’s Create Lab, the creators of interactive, data-driven stories about the planet from the EarthTime platform, and will be presented with the MIP SDG INNOVATION AWARD, in recognition of originality and for accelerating action across several of the SDGs.

The awards will be presented by the United Nations’ Deputy Director for the United Nations Regional Information Centre for Europe, Caroline Petit in a special keynote session featuring interviews with CEO, Ubongo Mwasi Wilmore, and Open Planet’s Director of Operations Emily Renshaw-Smith, to showcase the story, purpose and progress behind each initiative on Tuesday 9 April at 11.45 in the Palais des Festivals.  

CEO, Ubongo Mwasi Wilmore thanked for the recognition: "We are deeply honored to receive the MIP SDG Award in recognition of our commitment to providing inclusive and equitable quality education across Africa. This award reaffirms our dedication to leveraging the power of media to transform the learning experiences of millions of children, empowering them to realize their full potential," said.

On his part, Director of Operations, Open Planet Emily Renshaw-Smith spoke about the impact of his organization's actions on the community:“We are proud to receive this award as a new initiative supporting the SDGs. Only by harnessing the transformative powers of storytelling, technology, and creativity can we shift narratives and make meaningful strides towards addressing the most pressing challenges of our time. We have already seen incredible impact from unlocking visual content for storytellers through Open Planet – whether on the world’s most influential stages or in classrooms and communities – and are grateful to MIPTV and the United Nations for recognising our contributions to the SDGs so far," stated.

United Nations’ Deputy Director for the United Nations Regional Information Centre for Europe Caroline Petit referred to the importance of communication within the framework of complying with the organization's guidelines: “The number and diversity of entries for this year’s edition of the MIP SDG Awards demonstrate that the audiovisual industry can be an important ally in many areas of the UN’s work: from sustainable development to human rights. Broadcasters and producers have a role to play in creating and distributing factual, scientific content, and also in motivating and inspiring people to care, through stories," highlighted.

Finally, Lucy Smith, Director of MIPTV, praised the winners: “Television’s power to accelerate progress has never been more needed. This year’s winners are just two examples from an incredibly encouraging range of inspiring, progressive initiatives from across the industry - initiatives we will continue to use our platform to highlight;" emphasized.