Katiba Institute awarded winners of the essay competition on human rights on 22 July 2021 in Nairobi thanks to the support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy under the project “strengthening the work of human rights defenders and enhancing their protection.” The competition, which targeted participants up to 25 years of age, focused on human rights – encouraging young people to think and write about human rights and what it means to them.
Li Fung, the Senior Human Rights Advisor to the UN Resident Coordinator in Kenya, was the Chief Guest at the event. Li celebrated young people in their course for standing for human rights and encouraged them to keep up with the initiative. She said that the focus on young people to advocate for human rights was a good move since the youth contribute a big percentage of Kenya’s population.
“I want to encourage all of you to claim your rights and make the Constitution human rights guarantees a reality for all.” She noted.
Li Fung thanked Katiba Institute and the Royal Norwegian Embassy for supporting the initiative noting that young people have a potential of playing a critical role in promoting human rights.
While giving her remarks, Gunvor W. Skancke, Head of development for Kenya and Somalia at the Royal Norwegian Embassy, noted that Norway is a strong believer of human rights and dignity for all. She reflected on the importance of the day as far as human rights and democracy are concerned to Norway – referring to 10 years ago when 77 young people engaging in democracy died because of hate from an extremist. This event, she said, therefore was opportune to honour the young people all over the world who risk their lives to protect and promote human rights.
Gunvor applauded Katiba Institute for successfully organizing the event under the difficult conditions and for building on young people’s creativity to promote human rights.
Jill Cottrell Ghai, the Chairperson of Katiba Institute Board, took attendees through the idea and process of the essay competition. “The essay topics intended to make you think about human rights, what they mean to you and your family and what you can do to protect human rights.
Katiba Institute’s Executive Director Christine Nkonge thanked all those who participated in the competition and congratulated the winners noting that they have taken a step towards promoting human rights. She thanked the Royal Norwegian Embassy for supporting Katiba Institute to implement a project on strengthening the work of Human Rights Defenders and another that focuses on Gender Based Violence.
The winners were classified into three categories: up to 13 years; 13-18 years and 18-25 years.
up to 13 years category
- Nyakara Morara – Winner
13-18 years category
- Omondi Felix – Winner
- Beryl Andeso Ambale – runners- up
- Linda Chepkemoi Tuei – 2nd Runners-up
18-25 years category
- Akunzirwe Conrad – Winner
- Immaculate Were Kadogo – Winner
- Tabitha Waithera Munyaka -Winner
- Valencia Aluocg Misenga – Runners-up
- Kenneth Ochwer – 2nd Runners-up
- Gloriah Amondi Onyango – 2nd Runners-up
- Alice Kayo Mwando – 2nd Runners-up
- Linda Ngari – 2nd Runners-up
What winners had to say as they received their awards:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world.”
I was paying for this and God Answered.”- Akunzirwe Conrad
“I am a human rights defender and nothing should limit you from saying so.”
“This topic was drawn from my personal experience.”- Tabitha Munyaka
“Your story matters” – Immaculate Were
“I am passionate about human rights because of my love of reading newspapers and magazines”- Felix Omondi
“Writing this essay was an interesting experience. I learnt a lot about human rights and i am grateful for the award.” – Nyakara Morara