Covid 19 Poetry And Story Telling Competition Ends With Bang!

Covid 19 Poetry And Story Telling Competition Ends With Bang!

PHAU organised this (competition) to offer youth people an opportunity in the platform to raise it speak up and champion efforts that are focused towards supporting the youth to overcome the effects of the pandemic.

Lillibet Namakula (PHAU Team Leader)

The Coronavirus disease is an infectious disease caused by thr SARS-CoV-2 virus. Covid 19 has severely spread throughout the whole world in the last two years. The covid 19 pandemics triggered an increase in persistent symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression amongst young people in Uganda but also across the world. A number of young people are struggling to deal with the effects caused by Covid 19, many of them have stopped going to school due to the lockdown measures, others have dropped out of school due to reduced resources and income,  some of them are struggling to access the right information about Covid 19, the increasing unemployment food insecurity, household violence, substance abuse arising from the pandemic has had a major negative impact on their mental health.

The need to address mental health during this pandemic and support young people overcome stress, anxiety and depression is more evident now more than ever that’s why we at PHAU organized a poetry and storytelling competition to offer young people an opportunity and a platform to raise up, speak out and champion efforts that are focused towards supporting themselves and their peers to overcome the effects of Covid 19.

PHAU is a not for profit youth-led and youth-serving organization that works on issues of sexual and reproductive health as well as HIV/AIDS prevention through youth empowerment, health education, social entrepreneurship and the use of IEC materials for help.

PHAU together with other partners including Guttmacher Institute, Open Mic Uganda, The stage, UNFPA and also mind speaks have successfully put in place the Covid 19 poetry and storytelling competition where young people were able to express the severity of the Covid 19 effects on themselves,  their peers and the communities at large. PHAU put up a platform where young people were able to send over 100 poems, stories and audios elaborating the effect of Covid 19 on their mental health.

From among the 100 poems, about 30 poems and stories were selected for the semi-finals and later 10 finalists were able to make it for the grand finale among which were the three winners who will walk away with cash prizes. The top 10 finalists included Mercedes Nyarworth, Baryamujura Mahad, Isabirye Mitch, Alyce Namale, Destiny Gladys, Ssebo Lule, Birungi Ashley Elizabeth, Reuben Joshua Opeesa,  Karozi Wilbroad Kangave and Kahunde Ingrid.

The grand finale event was live-streamed on the different PHAU social media platforms which included youtube, Zoom and Facebook where the top 10 finalists were able to stage performing their Covid 19 poems and stories as well as the judges commenting on each one of the presentations. The judges included;   Ann who is a programme specialist for adolescent youth sexual and reproductive health, Apio Winnie who is a consultant at Adolescent youth sexual and reproductive health & a seasonal poetry writer, Don Muwanguzi who is the founder & team leader of also mind speaks.

The three winners of the Covid 19 storytelling competition were able to walk away with cash prizes. After the Judges concluded with their judgment, The position for the second runner up was a tie between Birungi Ashley Elizabeth and Alyce Namale who both scored 80% and were able to walk away with a cash prize of 500,000UGX. The position for the first runner up was taken by Kahunde Ingrid who scored 81% and was able to walk away with a cash prize of 700,000UGX. Finally, the overall winner position for the Covid 19 poetry and storytelling competition was taken by Ssebo Lule who scored 85% and walked away with a cash prize of 1,000,000UGX.

The Covid 19 poetry and storytelling competition was indeed a great opportunity for the youths to express their feelings and speak up their minds on the effects of Covid 19 on their mental health and that of their peers as well.

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