The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has called on schools and the Ministries of Education across the country to nominate their intelligent and creative students for the 15th edition of the NCF/Ambassador Aduke Alakija Memorial National Schools’ Art and Essay competition.
Entries for this edition, which has “Only One Earth” as the theme, will run from now till Friday, 17th June 2022.
According to a statement by NCF’s Head of Communications, Mr Oladapo Soneye, ‘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 and Essay competition in honour of one of its founding members, late Ambassador Aduke Alakija’.
The competition was first held in 1988 as part of NCF’s education and awareness programme in the formal school system. It is open to those in full-time education aged between five and 18 years, while the essay competition is open to their colleagues between 12 and 18 years old.
NCF requires that the entries be endorsed by the Principal/Head Teacher of the participants’ school and submitted to the respective state Ministry of Education for initial assessment.
The best five entries in each of the categories are to be submitted to the NCF by the Ministry of Education in each state and the Federal Capital Territory for the final assessment.
Winners are decided by the NCF’s team of judges, and l 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 them the opportunity to learn more about the Nigerian environment and the abundant wildlife resources.
Winners have so far been taken to the 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 and the Lekki Conservation Centre, among others.
Due to the security challenge in the country, winners since 2019 could not go on trips but were presented with exciting prizes and given due media recognition.
The competition has been sponsored annually by different individuals and corporate organisations. These include:
NCF Board of Trustees President, Chief Phillip Asiodu; Lagos Sheraton; Mobil Producing Unlimited; Statoil/BP Alliance; Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria; and the Nigerian Bottling company.
Past winning schools included Igbobi College Yaba, Lagos State; Science Secondary School, Dawakin Kudu, Kano, Kano State; the University of Nigeria Secondary School, Nsukka, Enugu State; Asaba Girls Grammar School, Asaba, Delta State; Suleja Academy, Suleja, Niger State; Adesoye College Offa, Kwara State; Betty Queen International School, Kaduna, Kaduna State; Federal Government Girls’ College Bwari, FCT.
Some of the past theme of the competition are: 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 and Human Health; The Effects of Poverty on the Environment.
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, it has grown from participation of one state to 32 states in 2019, representing approximately 90 percent geographic spread – with over 500 schools.