“I can’t believe it! I wasn’t drawing with the intentions of winning anything, I just decided to draw because I just like drawing and believed my artwork is not worthy of winning anything. I am shocked! My life has changed from today, I can’t even express my joy. I’ve never heard of the Cross River Gorilla Project before, but today, my friends, family and whole community will hear of them. I want to thank them immensely for this wonderful support, they have touched our hearts. This money will help me so much, especially as we are about writing our GCE exams.” Says Anyim Precious, first prize winner of the Pencil Case Project.
The Pencil Case Project which is an initiative of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) Buea – Cameroon in collaboration with the Cross River Gorilla Project UK and implemented by the ERuDeF Centre for the Advancement of Women’s Initiatives (CAWI), left some girl children of the Bilingual Grammar School, Molyko, overjoyed and overwhelmed. Some were in tears of joy, some jumped, and some danced after winning cash Prizes.
Forty- Six Pencil cases consisting of pencils, pens, rulers, erasers, sharpeners, colors, highlighter among others were not only used to design an inspirational Rain forest in an art competition but were benefited by the contestants to further their art work.
Speaking during the competition, the Director of CAWI, Mbowoh Lucia Nkembi urged the young girls to develop self-esteem and to be focused in their education with a career vision. She hoped the Pencil Cases will help them to produce excellent and wonderful drawings in the forth coming General Certificate of Education Examination thereby guarantee their successes. This years’ participation was limited to examination classes particularly Form Five because the other classes were still at home due to the Corona virus Pandemic.
According to Ewei Nadesh, the winner of the second prize, most of them didn’t know the importance of the Pencil Case Project. “I and my friends were reluctant to participate, we felt we would be wasting our time, but when the Director of CAWI came to our class and told us she was here to empower women, and of course with a bag of beautiful Pencil Cases, we became very eager to participate. I also told my friends, I like drawing trees and animals and coloring, and even if I didn’t win, I’ll have a pencil case which I’ll take home and use with my junior ones at home.”
Manchum olga didn’t win a prize, but she was overjoyed, as she cheered her friends who made it to the first ten. “Even though I didn’t win anything, I have a free pencil case in my bag, I can’t wait for next year so that can I participate in the competition again, and I believe I will be in the first ten. I know I didn’t win this year because I didn’t complete my art work and my drawings were upside down. I have learned a lot and I am very happy. I want to thanks ERuDeF, the Gross River Gorilla Project, CAWI and all those who made this project a success.”
Subsequently, a team from CAWI shall monitor the use of these items and to access the impact on conservation and the academic performance of the students.
The 2020 edition was supported by the University of Newcastle-UK.
The initiative seeks to empower and promote a future generation of conservation leaders with focus on girls from the Lebialem Highlands through the work of arts (wildlife painting).
The Lebialem Highlands covers Lebialem Division, parts of Upper Bayang in Manyu Division and Nguti Sub Division in Kupe- Muanenguba Division in the South West Region of Cameroon.