The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has announced to the schools and ministries of education across the nation, a call for intelligent and creative students to participate in the 15th edition of the NCF/Ambassador Aduke Alakija Memorial National Schools’ Art & Essay competition with the theme “Only One Earth”. The entry is open for submission till Friday, 17th June 2022.
Environmental education is a key focus of the NCF in reaching the Nigerian students and youths across all levels of education, hence the establishment of the annual National Schools’ Art & Essay competition in honour of one of its founding members, late Ambassador Aduke Alakija.
The annual National Schools’ Art & Essay competition was first held in 1988 as part of NCF’s education and awareness programme in the formal school system. The art competition is open to anyone between 5 – 18 years old, while the essay competition is open to anyone between 12-18 years of age, in full-time education. The entries should be endorsed by the Principal/Head Teacher of the participants’ school and submitted to the State Ministries of Education for initial assessment. The best five entries in each of the category are submitted by the 36 State Ministries of Education and the Federal Capital Territory to NCF for the final assessment.
Winners are decided by the NCF’s team of judges, and they are awarded with exciting prizes. In the past editions, National overall winners were sponsored to a national park/games reserve for about a week. This affords winners the opportunity of learning more about the Nigerian environment and the abundant wildlife resources. The trip also gives opportunity for winners to visit some other interesting places in the vicinity of the national parks/reserves.
Winners have so far been taken to the following places: Okomu National Park (formerly Okomu Wildlife Sanctuary); Yankari National Park; Jos Wildlife Park; Benin Museum; Lagos Museum; Kainji Lake National Park; Whispering Palms and Badagry; Republic of Benin sacred forest, Lekki Conservation Centre and many more. The period of stay of the winners at the parks allows a sharing of views and experiences.
Due to the situation of current security challenge in the country, since 2019, winners have been winning exciting prizes and given due recognition in the media.
The competition has been sponsored annually by different individuals and corporate organizations. These include: Izoma P.C. Asiodu, NCF BoT President; Lagos Sheraton; Mobil Producing Unlimited; Statoil/BP Alliance; Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria; Fanta – Nigerian Bottling company and others.
Some of the past winning schools include Igbobi College Yaba, Lagos State; Science Sec. Sch. Dawakin Kudu Kano, Kano State; Univ. Of Nigeria Sec. Sch. Nsukka, Enugu State; Asaba Girls Grammar School Asaba, Delta State; Suleja Academy Niger State; Adesoye College Offa, Kwara State; Betty Queen Int’l School, Kaduna, Kaduna State; Federal Govt. Girls’ College Bwari, FCT among others.
Some of the past titles include A Greener World for my Community by the Year 2000; The Effect of Pollution on Water Resources; The Nigerian Environment: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow; The Importance of Trees to our Future; Nature and the Nigerian Child; Greening our Cities; Waste Management: A National Problem; The Effects of my Culture on the Environment; Birds, Human Beings and our Environment; The Role of Insects in our Environment; Water Quality & Human Health; The Effect of Poverty on the Environment; and others.
The National Schools’ Art and Essay Competition is a veritable educational and advocacy tool used in engaging youths’ interest in conservation and environmental issues. Started in 1988, the annual competition has grown from participation of one state to 32 States in 2019, representing approximately 90% geographic spread participation – with over 500 schools.
Story by: Oladapo Soneye