Pupils from schools in rural areas won in an essay writing contest where over 23,000 pupils from 11,300 public primary schools across the 47 counties participated.
Mwongeli Mulwa from Makueni, Denise Nguhi (Machakos), Mitchele Rono (Elgeyo Marakwet), Melvin Koech (Elgeyo Marakwet) and Emmanuel Okinyi (Migori) emerged the top five winners nationally.
The five were feted at a ceremony held in Mombasa today and attended by representatives of schools from across the country at an event presided over by Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha and his Tourism counterpart, Najib Balala.
The essay contest was sponsored by Pwani Oil Products Limited, through its Sawa soap brand, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, and the Kenya Primary School Headteachers Association (KEPSHA).
The competition dubbed “Colors in Life” aimed at sharpening creative writing and thinking skills among pupils in Standard 6 and 7 and ran from July 1 to 31.
Five essays were shortlisted from each of the 47 counties and the best five nationally picked by a panel of 20 judges drawn from Pwani Oil, KEPSHA, Shujaaz Inc., and two external judges, Shiko Nguru, a children’s author and popular musician Vivian Wambui also known as Vivian Kenya.
Magoha hailed the initiative saying it will help sharpen creative writing and critical thinking skills among learners.
“Shaping future responsible citizens must begin with producing learners who can think critically and express themselves in creative, innovative ways. This is the only way we can become a nation of innovators and problem-solvers,” Said Prof Magoha.
Pwani Oil Commercial Director Rajul Malde says 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 during the ceremony to announce the winners.
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,” said Mr Malde.
KEPSHA National Chairman Johnson Nzioka hailed the initiative saying it would go a long way in improving the education standards in Kenya.
The five winners will be rewarded with an educational tour of the Coastal region including the 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.