Village girl beats all odds to win essay competition

By , People Daily Digital
Monday, October 4th, 2021 00:00 | 3 mins read
Education CS Prof George Ma goha (right) presents a trophy and certificate to Mwongeli Mulwa as tourism CS Najib Balala cheers on. Photo/PD/NDEGWA GATHUNGU

Mwongeli Mulwa from ACK Mtito Andei School is the overall winner of this year’s essay writing contest where she beat over 23,000 pupils from 11,300 public primary schools who participated across the 47 counties.

 Mwongeli 13, from rural Makueni county stunned guests at the contest awarding ceremony held in Mombasa county with her prowess in essay writing, despite all odds that come along with studying in a rural public  school.

The charming girl told Scholar that her passion for making a change in society and support from her parents, who bought her a laptop to actualise her writing are what motivated her. 

“My motivation was to make a change in everybody’s heart, because many have always been quiet when they are in bad situations, so my aim was to show that one can come out in the limelight despite the challenges they are going through,” said Mwongeli.

Her dream is to become a paediatrician so that she can reduce child mortality rate in the country and by extension the whole world.

“I want to become a children’s doctor because I love children and I feel so bad when I see children die of preventable or manageable diseases, so I want to make a change and save lives,” she said.

In her essay, Mwongeli says she focused on how to make a positive change in society.

“I was trying to compare colours with my life, especially when Covid-19 broke out, and schools closed, “said the 13-year-old.

Her advice to other learners is to focus on education in order to make positive change in future.

“I wrote the essay on my own and am happy that I am the national champion. I urge fellow students to join it in future,” she said. 

The five champions 

Mwongeli was among four other winners from schools in rural areas, who topped in their respective counties and were awarded  trophies and other prizes in a ceremony attended by education cabinet secretary prof  George Magoha.

The other four candidates, include Denise Nguhi of Machakos Primary School in Machakos county, Mitchele Rono Chepketeret of Primary School in Elgeyo Marakwet county, Melvin Koech of Moi Tambach Primary School in Elgeyo Marakwet and Emmanuel Okinyi from Milimani Primary School in Migori county, emerged the top five winners nationally.  

 The event was attended by representatives of schools from across the country at the event presided over by education cabinet secretary prof George Magoha and graced by 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 “Colours in Life” aimed at sharpening creative writing and thinking skills among pupils in Standard Six and Seven 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.

 Prof Magoha hailed the initiative saying it will help 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 and innovative ways.

This is the only way we can become a nation of innovators and problem solvers,” said Prof Magoha. 

Portray creativity

 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.  

 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 Malde.  

 KEPSHA National Chairman Johnson Nzioka hailed the initiative saying it would go a long way in improving the education standard in Kenya. 

“The contest not only helped strengthen the value of accumulating knowledge to improve writing skills and creative thinking, but also earned the participants recognition beyond the classroom.

This is what the new learning curriculum is all about, that is, teaching children to be all arounded,” said Nzioka.  

 Pwani Oil supported the initiative while KEPSHA assisted with mobilising 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 first-hand experience of Pwani Oil’s Kikambala plant, the largest soap and edible oil manufacturing facility in East and Central  Africa.

The competition theme is based on the Sawa brand philosophy of “Bringing colours to life” which is about inspiring positive elements in people’s lives.

 Malde disclosed the essay writing competition will be held annually to appreciate the writing talents of pupils across the country.