Pupils from rural schools topped an essay competition involving more than 23,000 students from 11,300 public primary schools in Kenya.
Mwongeli Mulwa from Makueni, Denise Nguhi from Machakos, Mitchele Rono from Elgeyo Marakwet, Melvin Koech from Elgeyo Marakwet and Emmanuel Okinyi from Migori emerged among the top five winners nationally.
The five students were celebrated at a ceremony held in Mombasa and attended by representatives from schools across the country. The event was chaired by Cabinet Secretary for Education Prof. George Magoha and Cabinet Secretary for Tourism CS Najib Balala.
The five winners will be rewarded with an educational tour of the coastal region including first-hand experience of Pwani Oil’s Kikambala plant. The winners also received matching certificates, trophies and gifts.
The essay competition was sponsored by Pwani Oil Products through its Sawa soap brand, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, and the Kenya Primary School Headteachers Association (KEPSHA).
The competition baptized Colors in life aimed to sharpen the creative writing and thinking skills of grade 6 and 7 students and took place July 1-31.
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) proved the courage of creative writing learners from schools in remote areas of the country.
Five trials were shortlisted from each of the 47 counties and the top five nationally selected by a panel of 20 judges selected from Pwani Oil, KEPSHA, Shujaaz and two external judges. It was Shiko Nguru, children’s author and popular musician Vivian Wambui, also known as Vivian Kenya.
Prof Magoha praised the initiative, saying it would help sharpen creative writing and critical thinking skills in learners.
âTraining the responsible citizens of tomorrow must start by producing learners who can think critically and express themselves in creative and innovative ways. This is the only way for us to become a nation of innovators and problem solvers, âProf. Magoha said.
KEPSHA National President Johnson Nzioka praised the initiative, saying it would go a long way in improving education standards in Kenya.
âThe competition not only helped reinforce the value of accumulating knowledge to improve writing skills and creative thinking, but also allowed participants to market themselves beyond the classroom. This is the goal of the new learning program, which is to teach children to be especially in their areas of God-given talent, âsaid Nzioka.
Pwani Oil supported the initiative while KEPSHA helped mobilize participation in all counties and oversee the auction process.
Creative expression is seen as an important aspect in the formation of responsible citizens capable of bringing positive ideas to society. Malde revealed that the essay writing competition will be held annually to assess the writing skills of students across the country.
Since its launch in 2008, Sawa soap has since grown into the second most popular brand of bath soap in Kenya, also available as a hand and body soap.