Uganda’s national competitions took place at the St Francis Auditorium at Makerere University, Kampala.
“I was inspired by my younger sister. I did not want to disappoint her. The last term, she was the best speller at her school – Kampala Junior school,” Marie Antoinette Lukedde, one of the seven 2020 East African Spelling Bee competitions qualifiers, said.
Uganda’s national competitions took place at the St Francis Auditorium at Makerere University, Kampala, on Friday. The competitions, which saw many schools across the country represented, were organised by Pepea Africa Initiative, in partnership with Vision Group.
Lukedde, a Senior One student at Gayaza High School, also attributes her victory to the daily and endless revision of the spelling bee handbook that was provided by the Pepea Africa Initiative.
Having failed in the first round of competitions during the school preparations, Lukedde had no hopes of proceeding to the East African competitions.
“While at school, I revised the spelling bee handbook. My teachers also would explain the rules of the competition,” she said.
She added that during holidays, her aunt also downloaded a spelling bee App, which she used to learn the basics of spelling and the rules of the game.
Favour Busingye Bwesigye, who qualified from Ntare School, said despite him registering only seven days to the final competitions, he was able to qualify for the East African caravan.
Bwesigye attributes his success to his older brother, whom he says got words from the dictionary and the handbook for him to practise.
“My brother, who is in senior six coached me. He would set a timeframe for me to spell given words,” he said.
Other students who qualified for the East African caravan are Umar Trife Wambooze (S5) from Kira College Butiki, Cynthia Nansereko (S3) from Gayaza High School, Emerald Nassali (S2) from Gayaza High School, Immaculate Mary Namubiru (S1) from Gayaza High School and Promise Kitara (S4) from Kira College Butiki.
About the competition
The qualifiers will have a study tour from Kasese to Mombasa, Kenya, from January 5 to 12. Dr. Anthony Wekesa, the director of Pepea Africa Initiative, said the overall winner will be announced after presenting a report about the tour on topics tackling climate change and sexual reproductive health.
Wekesa said since the spelling bee competition’s aim is to improve the writing skills of the participants, “the student who will document the best report will be the overall winner”.
John Eremu, the features editor at New Vision, said the project aims at supporting learners to improve their reading culture and comprehensive spelling skills.
“The participants will learn from each other. To score highly, they need to read extensively. They will not only be preparing themselves to participate in the competition, but also broadening their understanding of the issues and improving their vocabulary,” Eremu said.
The East African spelling bee is a regional spelling competition conducted in six countries of Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan, and Rwanda, that started in 2015.
The project recognises and encourages learners to embrace literacy, while helping them to research practical solutions to societal problems, such as sexual reproductive health and climate change for secondary schools and financial literacy and governance for primary schools.
On November 25, Pepea Africa Initiative also held primary and nursery spelling bee competitions. The East African spelling bee is a regional spelling competition conducted in six countries of Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan, and Rwanda. It started in 2015.
The project encourages the learners to embrace literacy, while helping them to research practical solutions to societal problems, such as sexual reproductive health for secondary schools and financial literacy and governance for primary schools.