In an effort to ensure that education never stops, we mounted a response with a mini project tagged The Community Girl Project Essay Writing Competition for children aged 8 to 16 in Warri, Delta State.
Firstly, we launched this essay writing competition to protect the well-being of children and ensure they have access to continued learning even in this pandemic.
Secondly, as a non governmental organisation that focuses majorly on quality education, water, sanitation and hygiene and environmental conservation with strong base in Warri, we felt the need to take action.
In order to deliver this project, we worked with various individuals to help rovide an innovative solution to educational challenges in Warri.
Together, we gave children both in and out of schools an opportunity to write essays about their lockdown experiences.
We shared the e-flyer widely in Facebook groups with lots of members based in Warri and through WhatsApp. We also printed banners and flyers which were shared hot spots in Warri. This helped to ensure we reached a good number of people.
It helped to facilitate connectivity gaps, and facilitate inclusive learning opportunities for children during this period of sudden and unprecedented educational disruption.
We had over 50 entries spread over different classes as shown in the breakdown below.
- Primary 2 – 1 participant
- Primary 3 – 2 participants
- Primary 5 – 2 participants
- Primary 6 – 1 participant
- JSS1 – 7 participants
- JSS2 – 3 participants
- JSS3 – 10 participants
- SSS1 – 10 participants
- SSS2 – 4 participants
- SSS3 – 3 participants
A few of the entries were disqualified due to plagiarism and adult and sibling malpractices. In total, we had 43 entries submitted to judges for marking.
There were five Judges who were carefully selected from different parts of the country. Entries submitted to the judges had no participant information such as name, age, gender, school and ethnicity. The judges were asked to grade the participants using the criteria below.
- Focus and details of the essay
- Organisation of the essay
- Word choice
- Sentence structure, grammar and spellings
We anticipated the outcome of this initiative with love, joy and tension, like waiting for the judges to deliver scores up until midnight to the announcement of the results.
The 1st position went to Omasan Daniella O., a 13 year old JSS2 student with a score of 51 points. The 2nd position went to Mirabirth Okwegada, a 15 year old SSS1 student with a score of 50.
There was a tie with the 3rd position as three participants scored 49 each. Esigbone Oritsematosan, a 16 year old in SSS3; Nwefurie Echezonachi, a 15 year old in JSS3 and Asenguah Oritsetsolayemi, a 15 year old in SSS3.
Current challenges and hope for the future
According to the UN’s 2018 report, there are about 260 million children still out of school. This is a major impediment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) which is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
With more projects such as this that is focused on rewarding children for their educational prowess, we believe that the rate of out of school children in Nigeria will significantly reduce.