Home Art Five Cowries exhibits”My Story of Water” at Totally Thames Festival, London

Five Cowries exhibits”My Story of Water” at Totally Thames Festival, London

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(L-R) Dele Phillips (Associate Partner, Phillips Consulting Limited), Polly Alakija (Founder, Five Cowries Initiative), and Robert Taiwo, (MD, Phillips Consulting Limited) at "My Story of Water" Exhibition, a part of Totally Thames Festival, London

Last week, a photo-exhibition of Five Cowries initiative’s “My Story of Water” project was unveiled at the London City Hall. 

Five Cowries initiative was launched in 2017 to offer more inclusive pathways into education by integrating arts into teaching to improve learning outcomes. The initiative was established as a response to the degenerating educational system in Nigeria. Five Cowries trains 50 teachers who directly support some 2,000 children annually. Through this initiative, they deliver programs that improve education and that also engage our children with issues of social and global impact and importance of conservation, citizenship, health, migration and new technologies for pollution.

The 2019 project“My Story of Water” is a collaborative arts program bringing children from Lagos with partners around the world, using art as a vehicle for social change. The initiative is aimed at creating awareness and helping children understand the importance of water, water pollution and the environmental crisis, which will, in turn, inspire creative ways to address the issues in the country. 

Polly Alakija, the founder of Five Cowries initiative, explained the challenges young children experience in Nigeria regarding lack of water. “Everyday activities such as bathing and cooking have become chores for these children, they are constantly at risk of diseases caused by using dirty water”.  

The children were encouraged and empowered to express themselves and tell their stories about water using art by painting jerry cans, canoes, etc. About 1600 children from over 30 primary schools in Lagos and Ogun states took part in this project and produced an installation of 500 painted jerry cans. 

As part of Phillips’s Consulting’s (pcl.) commitment to drive inclusiveness and development in Nigeria, pcl., partnered with Five Cowries initiative to deliver on the project “My Story of Water”. pcl. Assisted the supported by distributing art supplies and “canvases” in the form of Jerry cans to the primary schools in Lagos, Abeokuta, Ilaro, Aiyetoro and Ijebu-Ode in Ogun state and also support the kids during the creative sessions. 

Collaborating with public, private and civil sector partners – including Phillips Consulting Limited (pcl.), the Five Cowries initiative is intentional about fusing the three Rs (3Rs) of primary education – reading, writing and arithmetic – with the four Cs (4Cs) – critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.

Rob Taiwo (MD, pcl.), and Dele Phillips (Associate Partner, pcl.) were in attendance at the photo-exhibition launch event at the London City Hall to show support to the Five Cowries Initiative.

When asked about the pcl. partnership with Five Cowries, Phillips explained, “Last year, pcl. Realigned her business goals with a clear focus on transforming businesses using its strategy, digital and human capital resources. The Five Cowries initiative provides pcl. with the platform to achieve one of her strategic goals– impacting lives. The story of water encourages students to tell visual stories about water and sustainability in their environment. pcl. has been delighted to provide ‘fluidity’ in the process, making this a success story. We are also pleased with the positive energy towards building and maintaining our waterways”.

As part of the Totally Thames festival, the riverside arcade at Oxo Tower Wharf in London is also currently adorned with an installation of 500 jerry cans, painted by children across Nigeria till the 30th of September.

The photo exhibition of the project at London City Hall will be open to the public till 16th September.