Secondary School Children bring Life to Immunization Advocacy Through Creative Arts

It was a bright day indeed for 29 children from 11 secondary schools in the FCT as they converged at the Arcade Suites and Hotels in Abuja to participate in the #AVWng2017 2017 African Vaccination Week Creative Arts and Writing Competition. Held on April 12, 2017, the event – organized by the Women Advocates for Vaccine Access Center (WAVA) and Save the Children Nigeria – brought together art teachers, judges and members of the press to support the focus of the competition: the Value of Vaccines and Immunization Financing.

Cue the introductions, goodwill messages and presentations, the students were given instructions on the nature of the competition based on the theme. Led by the art consultant, Mrs. Lilian Pilaku, the students went to work for two hours to produce paintings and drawings, while other participants went on a tour of paintings from the 2015 World Pneumonia Day arts competition for secondary school children. An exhibition stand showcasing information, education and communication materials from WAVA and Save the Children was also available, while a screen projected videos on immunization, pneumonia awareness, as well as live tweets on #AVWng2017.

With the drawing session ended, the best 12 artworks from the students was finally announced after selections by a 3-man panel of judges – Mrs Ngozi Akande, Mr. Uche Mbele and Joy Iorvihi – from the Female Artists Association of Nigeria and the Society of Nigerian Artists. The announcements were met with great joy as parents and teachers of the winning students showed their admiration for their students. Most notable was the joy of a proud mother and teacher, when her two children made the top 12, after cutting short their holiday from Lagos to participate in the competition.

The top 12 students received prizes and certificates, while consolation prizes were also presented to all participants. Not done, the students were also asked to join a social media voting exercise where the public will be invited to choose the best three artworks for a grand prize award on April 24, 2017. The awards ceremony will be held alongside activities commencing the African Vaccination Week from April 24 – 30. The voting can be done at: https://wavang.org/childrens-creative-art/

The event had 82 participants in attendance with notable mentions including Dr. Adamu Nuhu, erstwhile Director of Advocacy and Communication and now NPHCDA Zonal Director for North West; Comrade Aliyu Jalaludeen of NPHCDA; Hajiya Hammanyero Kulchumi, WHO Communication Officer; Dr. Shola Dele-Olowu, DCL Managing Director representing the WAVA National Convener, Dr. Chizoba Wonodi; and Grace Olomiwe, Communication Officer at Save the Children. The competition was supported by the IVAC, NPHCDA, WHO and DCL.

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