Pupils from schools in rural Kenya have emerged top in the 2nd edition of the Pwani Oil Sawa Essay National writing competition where 7,361 schools across 42 counties participated.

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 Michelle 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 Michelle from Nyeri was the overall winner.

The five were feted during the Sawa Essay Awards Ceremony held in Pwani Oils Kikambala plant, Mombasa County. 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, the director not only congratulated the winners but also key stakeholders on their intentionality and commitment in 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”.

Pwani Oil, Sawa Bathing Soap was this year’s main sponsor of the competition. The brand boasts six Sawa soap variants which include Rose, Original, Herbal, Strawberry, Lemon + Honey and the latest entrant Sawa Chocolate.

Speaking at the award ceremony, 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”.

In his remarks, 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”.

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.

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