By Mwakwaya Raymond
FIVE pupils all of them from rural schools fought their way to the national finals of the Countrywide Essay Writing Competition.
This after beating 23,000 essay writers drawn from 11,300 Public Primary Schools in Kenya.
Judges and guests in the function to award the finalists were surprised to realize none of the five winners was from a town or urban school.
Indeed they were schooling in institutions in remote locations and which had poor learning facilities.
Mwongeli Mulwa from Makueni topped the list while Denise Nguhi (Machakos) emerged second.
Mitchele Rono (Elgeyo Marakwet), came third followed by Melvin Koech (Elgeyo Marakwet) and Emmanuel Okinyi (Migori) closed the file of the best five nationally.
EssayCompetitionsponsorsSawa Soap Brand by Pwani Oil Products Limited, the sole sponsor of the Competition, celebrated the five pupils on Monday September 20, in a colourful event witnessed by the cabinet secretary for Education Prof George Magoha and his Tourism counterpart Mr Najib Balala.
Chairman Kenya Primary School Headteachers Association (KEPSHA) also attended.
The competition ran for a tight one month, July 1 to 31. It was dubbed “Colors in Life” aimed at sharpening creative writing and thinking skills among pupils in Standard 6 and 7. Mwongeli from ACK Mtito Andei School, Denise (Machakos Primary School), Mitchele (Chepketeret Primary School) and Melvin (Moi Tambach Primary School), and Emmanuel (Milimani Primary School) bagged the creative writing mettle of learners from schools in remote parts of the country.
Every County produced Five essays after shortlisting.
EssayjudgesThey were rated by a panel of 20 Judges drawn from Pwani Oil, KEPSHA, Shujaaz Inc., and two external judges namely Shiko Nguru, a children’s author and popular musician, and Vivian Wambui also known as Vivian Kenya.
Prof Magoha thanked the organizers adding that the initiative goes in line with the current education system whose Competence Based Curriculum seeks to sharpen creative writing and critical thinking skills among learners.
“Shaping responsible citizens of the future must begin with producing learners who can think critically and express themselves in creative, innovative ways. That’s how we become a Nation of innovators and problem solvers,” said Prof Magoha.
ChildrencreativityAddressing those in attendance Pwani Oil Commercial Director Mr Rajul Malde said the competition’s primary aim was to offer a platform for the pupils to portray the best side of life creatively.
“Creative writing is one way of helping children understand the world we live in by giving them a voice to express their ideas and thoughts, a platform to explore their talents and imagine limitless life’s possibilities, even during these tough times,” said Malde. He cited research conducted by the National Literacy Trust in the UK singling out creative writing as playing an important role in supporting the wellbeing of children and young people during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We aspired through this competition, to inspire our children to recreate the world they live in through written expression. This was not just a writing competition but also an opportunity for participants to share their ideas and personal journeys with the world,” Mr Malde in his speech.
KEPSHA National Chairman Mr Johnson Nzioka hailed the initiative saying it would go a long way in improving the education standards in Kenya.
Mr Nzioka said: “The contest not only helped strengthen the value of accumulating knowledge to improve writing skills and creative thinking, but also earn the participants recognition beyond the classroom.
“This is what the new learning curriculum is all about, that is, teaching children to be all around especially in their areas of God-given talents.” PwaniOilawardsPwani Oil supported the initiative while KEPSHA assisted with mobilizing participation across all the counties and overseeing the adjudication process.
The five winners will be rewarded with an educational tour of the coastal region including a first-hand experience of Pwani Oil’s Kikambala Plant, the largest soap and edible oil manufacturing facility in East and Central Africa.
They also received certificates, trophies and assorted gifts. Creative expression is seen as an important aspect of nurturing responsible citizens capable of contributing positive ideas to society.
Malde disclosed the essay writing competition will be held annually to appreciate the writing talents of pupils across the country.
He said the competition theme is based on the Sawa brand philosophy of “Bringing colors to life” which is about inspiring positive elements in people’s lives.
Launched in 2008, Sawa has emerged the second most popular bathing soap brand in Kenya, also available as hand wash and body wash.
KEPSHA is the representative body for over 26,000 head teachers in all the public primary schools in Kenya.