Pwani Oil products in partnership with Shujaaz Inc, and the Ministry of Education through the Kenya Primary School Headteachers Association (KEPSHA) have announced the start of a three month mentorship program for its national essay writing champions, drawn from across the country.
This follows a month-long essay writing competition successfully held in July 2021. Dubbed “colors in life” the competition was aimed at sharpening creative writing and thinking skills among pupils. Over 11,300 public primary schools participated in the contest. It was targeting class 6 and 7 pupils.
The competition’s primary aim was to offer a platform for the pupils to bring out the best side of life creatively, partly inspired by the challenges they face due to disruption of learning by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Giving his remarks during the announcement, Pwani Oil Commercial Director Rajul Malde said, “the mentorship program will provide critical guidance to these pupils as it prepares them for future career success. As Pwani Oil, we are excited to have created a platform for the pupils to explore their talents and imagine limitless life’s possibilities, their age, background or current life circumstances notwithstanding”
Following a successful review of the 23,000 essays submitted, Mwongeli Mulwa from The ACK Mtito Andei School (Makueni County), Denise Nguhi from Machakos Primary School (Machakos County), Mitchele Rono from Chepketeret Primary School (Elgeyo-Marakwet County), Melvin Koech Moi Tambach Primary School (Elgeyo-Marakwet County) and Emmanuel Okinyi from Milimani Primary School (Migori County) emerged the top five national winners.
Speaking at the launch ceremony last year, KEPSHA National Chairman Johnson Nzioka hailed the initiative saying it would go a long way in improving the education standards in Kenya.
“The contest will not only strengthen the value of accumulating knowledge to improve writing skills and creative thinking, but also earn participants recognition beyond the classroom. This is what the new learning curriculum is all about, that is, teaching children to be all-rounded characters especially in their areas of God-given talents,” said Nzioka.
During the three-month-long mentorship organized by Shujaaz Inc, the five winners will be mentored on how to identify a great story from the environment around them, develop a great story framework, a character and plot. In addition, they will also be taught how to enhance their plot with elements that make a story great. They will also be taught how to illustrate their story with great drawings.
Shujaaz Inc is a network of social ventures connecting young people with the information, skills and resources they need to take control; embedding them in a digital and real-world community that gives them the self-belief to succeed, in their context and on their terms. Today, their Emmy-Award-winning multimedia youth platform ‘Shujaaz’ (meaning heroes) reaches 71% of 15-24-year-olds across Kenya.
Bridget Deacon, Managing Director at Shujaaz Inc said: “ At Shujaaz Inc, we know that the stories change lives – it’s right at the heart of what Shujaaz is all about. So we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to support and mentor five of Kenya’s most promising young storytellers through this programme. We can’t wait to share the final stories produced by these five young writers”.
Besides the mentorship, the five were feted at a ceremony held in Mombasa and attended by representatives of schools from across the country at an event presided over by Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha and also graced by his Tourism counterpart, Najib Balala.
They were rewarded with an educational tour of the coastal region including 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.
Prof. Magoha hailed the initiative saying it will help sharpen creative writing and critical thinking skills among learners.
The competition theme was based on the Sawa brand philosophy of “Bringing colors to life” which is about bringing out the positive elements in people’s lives. Launched in 2008, Sawa has since grown to be one of the most popular bathing soap brands in Kenya, also available as hand wash and body wash.