In 2016, when the Finnish government told the United Nations how it was tackling the SDGs, it also made a promise: to nurture schoolchildren and students into responsible global citizens (see page 24 of Finland’s National Report).
To help fulfil this promise, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs teamed up with well-known graphic artist Matti Pikkujämsä to design a series of six cool, colourful and thought-provoking SDG posters. Each poster features SDGs that are particularly important to Finland. The Ministry has sent them to all of the country’s general schools.
While the cost of distributing them may be high, posters in schools have proven to be a very effective way to build awareness for international development in Finland. According to Ministry representatives, you can still find posters from 2005 on the Millennium Development Goals hanging in some schools. Think of how many kids would have walked past those posters since then (multiple times), learning all about the MDGs!
Of course, well-designed posters alone are not enough. The Ministry also provides teachers with advice on how to make the most of them as teaching tools. On a special website to support global education (maailma2030.fi/), visitors can download the posters, other materials and pedagogic guidance on how to make the SDGs relatable to students. More generally, Finland has integrated the 2030 Agenda into its school curriculum.
Meanwhile, public support for development aid is at a ten-year high in Finland. According to a recent poll, 90 per cent of Finns agree that providing development aid is important. Women and students show most support.
The new SDG visuals have spread from schools into the public transport system, museums and cinemas. Finnkino, a national film distributor, showed animated versions of the posters on 1000 screens in 2017, reaching more than 200,000 viewers. Cinema-goers were also treated to a localized version of the SDG music video WhatIReallyReallyWant before screenings.
Header picture: Matti Pikkujämsä