Consumer goods manufacturer Pwani Oil Products Limited, has partnered with the Ministry of Education and Kenya Primary School Headteachers Association (KEPSHA) to roll out an essay writing competition for Standard 6 and 7 pupils in public primary schools across the 47 counties.
The competition, sponsored by Pwani Oil’s Sawa soap brand, is themed “Colors in Life” and seeks to sharpen creative writing and thinking skills among pupils. Over 23,000 public primary schools are expected to participate in the contest that runs from July 1-31.
Pwani Oil Commercial Director Rajul Malde says the competition’s primary aim is 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.
“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 tough times,” said Malde during the ceremony to launch the competition in Mombasa.
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 aspire through this competition, to inspire our children to recreate the world they live in through written expression. This is 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 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 at the launch ceremony.
Pwani Oil is sponsoring the initiative while KEPSHA will assist in mobilizing participation across the 47 counties and overseeing the adjudication process. Of the top five essays shortlisted in each county, that is a total of 235, a panel of nine judges will pick the best five nationally.
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. They will also receive certificates, trophies and assorted gifts.
Creative expression is seen as an important aspect of nurturing responsible citizens capable of contributing positive ideas to society. The KEPSHA National Chairman advocates for writing skills as a way of promoting innovative ideas and solutions to society’s problems.
He disclosed that the partnership between KEPSHA and Pwani will also involve other education sector stakeholders. “I wish to announce that the Pwani Oil Limited/KEPSHA essay writing competition will be held annually to appreciate the writing talents of pupils across the country.”
KEPSHA is the representative body for over 26,000 head teachers in all the public primary schools in Kenya.
Malde said the competition theme is 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.