eKitabu Tunaenda Digital Newsletter July 2022

Dear Friends,

Thank you to everyone who joined us in launching the 10th annual Digital Essay Competition (DEC) on 18th June at Kangundo DEB Primary School in Machakos County. For hosting us, we warmly thank the Principal of Kangundo DEB, Mr. Bernard Kivuva, and his team in Kangundo, whose good spirit, warmth, and wisdom are visible in the school. In DEC 2022, we invite all Upper Primary and Secondary school students to submit their essays online for the following categories: Kiswahili, English, Art, Kenyan Sign Language, Braille, French, German, and Arabic.

The DEC 2022 question is:

Who is your real life hero, and why?
Ni nani shujaa wako halisi wa maisha, na kwa nini?
Quel est ton héros dans la vraie vie, et pourquoi?

For the past 9 years, we have welcomed essays and art from over 60,000 learners with and without disabilities and over 2,000 schools across all 47 counties of Kenya. In 2022, we are working to make DEC even more inclusive through collaboration with teachers, parents, caregivers, learners, and stakeholders in education. We welcome your ideas, creativity, and resourcefulness to include all children in learning, reading, and writing. Learners can write and turn in their essays and art online at essay.eKitabu.com. We look forward to receiving essays from all 47 counties of Kenya!

At the DEC 2022 launch, we were happy and honored to have with us many friends and colleagues, old and new. Mr. John Temba of Kenya MOE was with us, and he shared these thoughts:

“Digital learning is in my blood. We want all learners with and without disabilities to use all kinds of technologies—computers, laptops, and phones to access education. I am happy to see the organizations who are ready to partner including Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD), Kenya Institute Of Special Education (KISE), and Kenya Institute for the Blind (KIB).” John Temba, Ministry of Education, Kenya.

The award-winning recording and performing artist, humanitarian and entrepreneur, Henry Ohanga, commonly referred to by his stage name Octopizzo, also joined us and the Kangundo community for the DEC 2022 launch. Octopizzo said: “If you want to be an artist in the future, start here being creative and writing your music, poem, or essay.”

Our whole team and the children, teachers, families and government representatives present at Kangundo were very happy and appreciative for the good energy, ideas and art that Octo shared with us.

We also loved having the ChezaCheza Dance Foundation team with us interacting with learners at the school. ChezaCheza uses the power of dance and movement to teach children essential social and emotional competencies to succeed in school and thrive in life.

Lastly, it was great interacting with learners with and without disabilities from Kangundo Primary School and learners who are deaf from Kangundo AIC Primary School during the eKitabu Book Talk session that same day. The Book Talk focused on the book Super Lisu by Yolanda Chakava. Super Lisu is an awesome graphic novel about a girl named Kendi, a Kenyan superhero who discovers and uses her powers. Her source of power is her hair. How that came to be involves Lake Turkana, and in this book we get to know her and her world.

The main objectives of Book Talks are to build the brands of local authors and publishers and promote reading itself with the people we can reach through inclusive activities. During Book Talks, we engage with books, authors, and connect with readers—children, teachers, parents and caregivers. So far, Book Talks have been online, in-person or a mix of both involving reading, dialogue and roleplay. We were so happy to have Chezacheza, Octopizzo and friends from East African Education Publishers, the publisher of Super Lisu, with us and the Kangundo community for this event.

Warmest regards,
Will

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