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Pepea Africa partners with New Vision for The East African Spelling Bee 2019.

Pepea Africa has since 2014 been carrying out the campaign dubbed, “The East African Spelling Bee”, as a literacy promotion project. This year, 2019, Pepea Africa has partnered with New Vision for this literacy promotion project, whose objective is to improve the reading culture of children, promote learning of new concepts, and develop correct English word pronunciation and usage, among others.

During the press conference that took place at the Vision Group offices in Kampala, Anthony Wekesa, the Executive Director of Pepea Africa, said, “I am so pleased that we have finally entered into a marriage which we have decided to unveil officially to the public.”

The launch of the partnership took place on Thursday, 19th September 2019.

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Meet Emmanuel Opera, visually impaired but talented

There was not much to surprise a soul as we took this journey.

The Spelling Bee exercise was not an uncommon thing. Either you had watched it take place or heard of it . I was lucky to have been a part of this exercise in Uganda this year, 2017. It started out like everything else, normal, exciting on most days. You knew what schools you expected to bring out their very best without fail. You would tell off a child face their readiness. You even without meaning picked out your favorite ones and said a louder prayer for them. It was a competition and so far energies were great.

So we were all hit with Stony silence when to the hot seats little frail hands were led.We wanted to get on but there was this plea…. Let’s just wait for this one school “Soroti school of the blind ”. They have put in much to come and they’re coming from a distance. Now, if you’ve waited for someone or something for hours you’ll know how disinterested you’ll be. They did arrive and we saw them, very polite but usual.By this time no one was paying attention to the boy who had walked in with his stick and organ.

It was until he kept spelling word after word that for the first time all eyes were opened to the word Spelling Bee Competition “. Without discussion you could tell every heart in the room was saying the same prayer….Emmanuel, do win. Without convening a meeting for all to agree, the air told you something had just changed and the other participants were not sitting idly anymore. The crowd followed his fingers which rapidly tapped at his chest right before he spelt each word. He would say it, look into space where only he could see, go over the word in his mind using his lips then tap tap tap and spell it. The crowd felt the punch more than he did when he couldn’t spell that particular word that got him out of the struggle for best three but hey, he made it to the finals!

There is one thing to be said about perseverance and another to be sung about dancing in the smoking fire. It’s another completely different thing to find someone who does both. Emmanuel Opera showed us he was all to give. See, this is a story told through my eyes and vantage point about a boy I barely know but one who I know needs his story of gold wrapped and handed out.His teacher described him as persistent and consistent, one who’s never brought down by life’s wits. Academically enduring, humble, extra disciplined and set to finish whatever he starts. We thought yeah yeah.. Until he proved this himself.He simply took his organ that he called best friend and did the next best awesome thing. He played and sang and it felt like our hearts had never understood to hear the symphony of music and say melody. We were captured. A few tears shed but not in pity, in realisation of how much was out there and not sought after. Eyes closed, pulling at his organ like it were the only thing he knew, he led us into the National Anthem. He was only letting us know his sight was without flaw or blur.

As I write this,I don’t know what might flash across your mind. You might see it as the usual thing, after all aren’t we surrounded with these stories everyday.I am pleading with you on behalf of Emmanuel Opera who at the moment is unaware of such a sanctuary set to help him further his education and music career. He says when he sings he can see what he’s never had chance to see. He can touch faces and hug endless smiles. This is a petition to anyone who might come across this story to reach into and out and support him in his pursuit. School of the blind Soroti and Pepea Africa Initiative Office are the places you can reach to anyone to find out about its operations.


God bless you. Let’s help each other up

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Opera stands out at the Eastern Spelling Bee

Emmanuel Opera was among the top 10 Winners at the recent eastern regional competitions for the East African spelling Bee. Apupil of St Francis Primary school for Blind, he also thrilled the Audience with his musical performance and intellect. The national competitions will take place on August 23 at .

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Bashabe and ogwang win central spelling competitions

Central spelling competitions took place on May 8 at national theater. The full day event was a tough one that saw 89 contestant compete for the top 20 positions to participate at national level.

Participants were from Mukono, Kampala and Entebbe in this competition, everyone wins as an individual and not as a school. The competition, went for several rounds as they eliminated those
those who failed to spell certain words correct, the best two were Samuel Bashabe from world of life and  Melanie Ogwang from Greenhill Academy. They were awarded medals for outstanding performance. Some of the words were easy but failed by some because they panicked to answer such as jealous, dumbbell Conscious, possession, pronunciation, recite among others, watch out for what happened in Eastern and western regions.


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East African spelling bee rocks in eastern region.

East African Spelling Bee regional competitions were hosted at kakira sugar works in madhvani hall. Kenneth Barungi, the kakira sugar works assistant general manager encouraged children to use their talents and skills to become assertive and useful citizens. He also urged children to stay and make best use of school, take on leader ship and use their skills well.

Dr. Anthony Wekesa, the Director PEPEA Africa who are the organizer of E. Africa spelling Bee said the spelling exercise nurtures skills of reading, writing and public specking. He commended children for doing well in spelling and pronunciation which are bad nowadays, Isaac Omoding 13, P.7, pupil at karongo primary school was the best speller while Kelly Rutagonya, 11, P.6 and Ernest khauka 11 P.6 of madhvani primary school came second and third best respectively. Ten pupils were chosen to represent Busoga region



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Upcountry schools trounce Kampala in spelling competition

If you’re one of those persons who lives by the Luganda adage “a village cock cannot crow in town,” perhaps you better change your mindset.

It has been proved that someone from the remote villages can successful challenge the urbanites. And the proof was presented at the weekend when schools from the districts of eastern and western Uganda defeated Kampala-based schools at the climax of the 2015 National Spelling Bee competition.

In nerve-wrecking sessions at the Kampala Capital City Authority head office in Kampala, Tororo Parents Primary School emerged the overall winner with 580 points out of 600 thanks to their prolific speller, Leticia Namwadiko.

As the rest of the participants scratched heads and stammered, Namwadiko answered questions correctly. She was very confident, audible and very visibly informed.

Kampala and central region at large were represented by prominent schools such as Kampala Parents, City Parents, Hillside Academy and Victorious Education Centre.
Western Uganda was represented by Bweranyangi Junior and Parental Care. More than 12 schools took part in the final competitions and each school was represented by two participants.

The selections
The competitions started in March in the different regions until the best two schools were chosen to participate in the final challenge
Mr Aaron Kirunda, one of the directors of Spelling Bee Uganda, promised to take the winners to South Africa to acquire more literacy skills.

This was the third time the competitions were being held. “We started the spelling bee competitions purposely to promote the reading culture in schools. When the children compete, it makes them read harder to win and in turn improve their literacy,” Mr Kirunda said

Mr Ambrose Jimmy Atwoki, the KCCA deputy director of education and social services who represented the executive director, Ms Jennifer Musisi, advised parents to encourage their children to read.

“Buy short story books for children. Check their books when they return home to see whether they understood what they studied at school. Tell them to read for you. This will help to reduce literacy gaps in schools,” said Mr Atwoki.

He said KCCA will organise a workshop for teachers in government schools around Kampala to equip them with more skills of teaching literacy.

Dr Anthony Wekesa, one of the directors of Spelling Bee Uganda, cautioned parents against forcing children to do courses which are not of their choice.

“When a child does a course just to please the parent, his or her productivity in society is very low. This affects their career as well as national development,” Dr Wekesa cautioned.

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Spelling Bee Competition for Primary Schools

The spelling Bee is an annual spelling competition for primary school children with the aim of improving literacy, unlocking our children’s imagination and developing key life skills such as confidence, teamwork, critical thinking and presentation. It is conducted in English and sign language for pupils aged between 8years and 11years from all individuals and schools interested . The spelling Bee activities have been approved and endorsed by the Ministry Of Education and Sports
This ideal was developed after 2015 statistics from the National Adult Literacy policy which showed that at least 73% of Ugandans could not read and write – there is still a long way to go. Its against this background that we recognized the need to further introduce Ugandan literacy culture from the lower educational levels of primary schools which could be best achieved through Spelling Bee, which NOT only helps them learn how to spell words but also encourage them to read widely hence developing a reading culture among the 52% of Uganda’s population which is children below the age of 15, that hold the keys to the future . we have designed the Spelling Bee to celebrate academic success and train these children to use a word’s definition, art of speech, and word origin as well as the knowledge of phonics as valuable literary tools. In addition we train in-service teachers in learner-centered literacy techniques and help schools to form reading clubs, because the journey is rewarding.
The Uganda Spelling Bee starts with mobilizing schools and registering those interested in the activities for that year
Once we have established how many schools we have in each region, we organize and conduct teacher trainings for each district or region, and in these provide materials that help the teachers to go back to their schools and set up a Reading Club and organize for a School Spelling Day where the entire school, and invited guests and parents come to the school to see their children compete among themselves to make the School Team. This is very important, to all pupils in the school, and discourages teachers from simply picking those they think are the best. It also helps other children to learn as they watch their friends compete. We actually encourage pupils in the audience to have a notebook and try to spell the words themselves quietly as the spellers are doing this After the School Spelling Bees, the School teams move on to the District/Regional Competition where they compete with other schools in that region. The top Schools in each Region then make it to the National Spelling Bee Championship.
This year’s Uganda Spelling Bee championship finale was held on 30th October 2016 at the Kampala Serena Hotel where Hillside Nursery and Primary School Naalya emerged winners . they will represent Uganda at the African Spelling Bee competitions in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in july 2017
Atotal of four schools from kampala made it to the finals including Daffodils Primary Schoo, Victorious Primary School , City Parents School and the champions Hillside Nursery and Primary School Naalya