Deliberating on the winning essays
One might think that students, especially 'millenials', or 'the xaxa xema generation'as we like to dismissively refer to them, are clueless on what happens in the world around them, let alone human rights issues. We here at Amnesty International Kenya (AIK), were however pleasantly surprised to discover that not only are they aware of current affairs, they are also able to see the links between our activities as individuals in the society and how these activities in turn create and shape the world.
The 2017 Human Rights Essay Competition for Secondary Schools that came to a close in March, saw remarkable entries. Many of the essays had well reasoned out arguments, clarity of thought and a firm understanding of context. This year, it was the students that set the theme themselves "Exam Cheating and Human Rights: Who is Responsible?" Involving students from 22 schools in 3 counties (Nairobi, Kisii, Homa Bay), the project was part of the Amnesty International Kenya Human Rights Friendly Schools Project. This project aims to get all school members to participated in the integration of human rights values and principles, to establish human rights as social norms in communities.
While (AIK) runs many programs, we particularly cherish this one because we are planting and watering the seeds of the thinking of the next generation of Kenyans. We are at a point in time where corruption, violence and dehumanization are such a norm, and yet they should not be. The Ugandan writer Kalundi Serumaga put it well in a 2008 essay Unsettled (https://liblit.wordpress.com/2008/02/18/unsettled-by-kalundi-serumaga/), we have 'normalized the abnormal'.
The essays had been marked and graded with help from the team at the Students Consortium For Human Rights Advocacy (SCOHRA Kenya). Led by AIKs Growth and Human Rights Education Project Officer Josephine Mwatibo (we call her Jozzie) the team was able to come up with a list of winners by the end of last week. Top 10 national winners as well as the top 3 winners in every county. The winners will be announced at the Human Rights Education Festivals which will be taking place in the 3 counties on the following dates:
Homa Bay - 1st June
Nairobi - 3rd June
Kisii - 30th June
We shall share the winning essays here, as well as all the names of the winners and schools they come from. Stay posted!