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Rural schools emerge tops in national essay contest

By Haniel Mengistu

Five primary school pupils from rural schools in the country have emerged tops in the 2nd edition of the Pwani Oil Sawa Essay National writing competition where 7,361 schools across 42 counties participated.

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The competition was conducted in partnership with the Kenya Primary Schools Headteachers Association (KEPSHA). It is in line with Pwani Oils’ mission to refine the lives of communities around them by sharpening creative writing and thinking skills among pupils.

Ashley Micere Kiumbe from Nyeri, Joel Chelot from West Pokot, Carol Shelmith Makena from Embu, Deborah Wanjiku from Nairobi and Isabella Amanda from Isiolo emerged as the overall National winners of the competition. Ashley Micere Kiumbe from Nyeri was the overall winner.

The five were feted during the Sawa Essay Awards Ceremony held in Pwani Oils Kikambala plant, Mombasa County.

Ashley Micere Kiumbe from Nyeri was the overall winner.

They each received a 3-day fully paid trip to Mombasa, including a first-hand experience of Pwani Oil’s Kikambala Plant. They also received certificates, trophies and assorted gifts from the award’s key partners Sawa, Trufoods, Kartasi Brand and Umoja Rubbers.

The ceremony was graced by the Ministry of Education Quality Assurance and Standards Assistant Director, Mr. Eliud Wambua who represented the Ministry of Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu.

Giving his remarks, Wambua not only congratulated the winners but also key stakeholders on their intentionality and commitment to supporting the education agenda in the country.

“We from the ministry appreciate the milestones made to date. Looking at the partners in this gathering today, we see a unity of purpose underscored by a vision to refine the lives of communities around us. It is through such competitions that we test the quality of education our children receive in their respective institutions. Therefore, we must never stop challenging our pupils to think over and above their classrooms. This strengthens and expands their thinking capacity and prepares them for better opportunities in the near future”, he said.

He noted that in this era of rapid technological advancement and ever-evolving global challenges, the ability to articulate and express ideas in small children is crucial.

“The Education ministry recognizes the importance of nurturing and encouraging young writers. We firmly believe that every student has a unique voice that deserves to be heard,” he said.

He said the ministry is committed to fostering a culture of creativity and excellence in education and committed to creating a safe environment for all stakeholders, including school children, parents and partners, to thrive.

“This is the kind of environment where we will help our children grow and become well-rounded individuals who can contribute positively to society,” he noted.

Pwani Oil Commercial Director Rajul Malde said, “At Sawa, we believe in the power of ideas and the strength of the written word. Through this competition, we sought to ignite the flames of creativity and inspire the next generation of thinkers and storytellers. And I must say, we have been overwhelmed by the sheer brilliance and passion displayed in the essays submitted. I congratulate all the winners and affirm our commitment to continuously support dreams and refine lives through our products and services”.

“Education should be the cornerstone of progress and teachers have a vital role in inspiring and nurturing the spirit of curiosity in learners, he further noted.

Innovation, he said, is about finding that disruption that the consumer desires but does not know they desire it.

KEPSHA National Chairman, Johnson Nzioka congratulated all the winners noting that each essay was a testament to the potential within every individual to shape our society and drive positive change.

“Through their essays, these talented individuals have demonstrated the power of empathy, critical thinking, and creativity. They have offered us new lenses through which to view the world, encouraging us to reflect, question, and act. Their words have the potential to shape opinions, influence policies, and inspire generations to come. We commit, through their schools, to offer all the necessary support and build their growth towards achieving their desired dreams”.

Nzioka said the essay competition augurs well with the CBC, which is being implemented in the country at the moment, and therefore needs to be up-scaled.

He said such strategic partnerships are a crucial part of the association and will strive to draw in more partners for different co-curricular activities.

In its second edition, the competition targeted grades 6 and 7 pupils who focused on the theme Roses are Red and Violets are Blue, Color the world to reflect you. The theme aimed at sharpening their creative writing and thinking skills.

The overall winner Ashley Micere Kiumbe, was overcome with emotions after being crowned the National winner of the Easy writing competition.

“It’s a feeling beyond words, I just feel elated, excited, proud, happy and it’s just a feeling of emotions,” she said.

“For me, I wrote my essay concerning how color is important for our world. How colors are used to describe different emotions, so I wrote to help on how I see I can make the world a better place,” Micere further said.

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