DEAR BARACK OBAMA – DEAR JOHN MCCAIN COMPEITION, 2008
In September 2008 the Mbegu Trust ran a competition open to all secondary school pupils in Kenya to ask a question and write a short letter to either of the US Presidential hopefuls, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama.
Prizes totaling over Ksh 1,000,000 were awarded by a panel of independent judges to winning students and their schools for the best, most pertinent questions and the most original contributions.
The aim of the project was to inform young people in Kenya about the history, political and electoral process in the United States and to give young Kenyans the opportunity to express their hopes, concerns and needs for the future.
Some 14,000 students from over 900 schools across Kenya took part in the competition.
The students’ questions and letters ranged across a wide variety of subjects including racism, the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorism and the attitude toward Muslims, the world economy, empowering Africans, gender equality, and the fight against HIV/AIDS.
The prize money of Ksh 100,000 received by the eight schools as a result of their students winning the competition helped to buy books, computers and science laboratory equipment, to build dormitories and install water systems.
Some of the winning students were invited to receptions at the US Embassy in Nairobi both on election-day evening of the Presidential election in November 2008 and on Inauguration Day in January 2009.