Sharon Vijedi, a student and blogger at Sound of the Pen, has won this year’s US Embassy Online Writing Competition. The competition that was held in August, set out to test the individual understanding of topics trained about earlier in the year by the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE).

The competition was held in three phases. The participants were sent the topics to write about and were given time to submit their articles which were to be put up on their blogs. After submission, the judges, who comprised of Kennedy Kachwanya, Jane Muthoni and Shitemi Khamadi, went through the submissions that were sent in form of the blog links. They then used set criteria to judge and score the blog posts. Those who scored the highest went into the next round.

Three topics were chosen from key areas that impacted the digital landscape in the past year. The main aim was to gauge the trainees’ understanding of the correlation between the digital platforms in the country and emerging issues; and also to get a feel of the solutions they would come up with, given the different situations.

One of BAKE’s mandate is to train people on digital skills. BAKE organizes training sessions and workshops that usually fall on the following topics: basics of blogging, social media, online freedoms and fake news. This is done with the aim of equipping them with practical skills which include the technical aspect of starting a blog, creating content, use of social media platforms, as well as the Kenyan laws that relate to the internet.

The United States Embassy in Kenya collaborated with BAKE once again to train university students and upcoming bloggers not only in general blogging but also on Fake News, Online Freedoms and Digital Marketing. The training workshops were held at American Corner spaces in May and June, in three counties namely: Nairobi, Nakuru and Mombasa. A total of 75 young people attended training workshops.

BAKE and the US Embassy Nairobi would also like to commend the excellent work of Margaret Wanjiru (Billionaire Farmer) and Tabitha Mwai (Decent Conversations) who emerged in second and third place respectively.