The first day of the Ake International Book and Arts Festival, opened with a programme organized for secondary school students in Ogun stste with the theme “Our environment, Our world” the programme was organized in conjunction with Lafarge and the office of the first lady of Ogun State, Mrs. Olufunke Amosun (confirm this please)
As part of the Schools’ Environmental Awareness Day, the children were treated to a screening of a documentary on environmental degradation titled “Nowhere to run ” which threw light on the plight of communities battling with various forms of environmental pollution resulting from activities ranging from crude oil exploration and natural disasters to gas flaring and related issues. The students expressed shock and pity, and several admitted that they had been deceived by reports in news and popular media that mentioned environmental degradation but never exhaustively dwelt on it.
In their comments and reactions, the students appealed to the government to give more attention to the suffering of the affected regions and a number of them professed a greater commitment to environmental care and preservation.
The students were given gift packs with books and other educational materials in them, and there was a pledge, which was designed by the first lady’s NGO, Green Environment For The Youth (GEFTY), which the students eagerly read out as they pledged their commitment to a better, safer and healthier environment.
In her talk, the first lady reiterated how vital it was that the environment be kept as healthy as possible, noting that,” when one has received a legacy or a heritage from one’s ancestors, it was only necessary to ensure that the same legacy was passed down in as good a condition as possible to the descendants”
A contest was also held among the schools to determine who would make the best use of the materials given to them, with emphasis on the three R’s of the environment- Reuse, Recycle, and Reduce, in each case the students were given bags full of supposed waste material, which they were then to recycle, and make the best use of in order to create new objects and add value by recycling.
The schools were given a set time, and at the end of the set time, they were asked to come out and do presentations based on what they had been able to create. Majority of the schools did similar things, with items like aprons (from cloth), hand fans (from old newspapers) and flower vases (from bottles and cardboard) being regulars on almost every school’s list. The winning school was to receive a hundred thousand naira for use in building or upgrading the school’s library, in addition to each student on the school’s team getting 5,000 naira each
The judges, led by Mr. Bakare, from the Ministry of Education, took critical note of the offerings and presentations brought by the various schools.
With an average score of 86% across the three judges, st. Peters school came third, preceded by Comprehensive Academy, with 88%, and with the princely score of 90%, Gateway School, Quarry Road, won the prize. The Director of the Book Buzz foundation, and host / convener of the Festival, Lola Shoneyin congratulated the schools warmly and assured them that the organizers would be coming next year to inspect the progress made on the library.
In other news, the Ake festival Fiction workshop, facilitated by Nnedi Okoroafor, Taiye Selasi, and Helon Habila, held in the chat room for twenty budding writers groomed and schooled on improving their skills and preparing their work for publication. Topics covered in the workshop included Broadening Your Horizon, Editing and Publishing Your Work, and Narrative Voice.
Also, the Workshop on Creating Web Documentaries with Jean Christophe Rampal, co-author of lacitedesmortes.net, the first ever web documentary done in France, and Project Manager for French Public Radio Group, Radio France.
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Ikechukwu Nwaogu is a writer, occasional poet, and playwright who lives and hustles in Lagos. An avid lover of books, reading, and poetry. He blogs at www.inkspilla.wordpress.com and tweets via @eyekaywizard[/color-box]