Budding writers in Malawi have been offered an opportunity to showcase their ability and perfect their skill through the 49th International Letter Writing Competition.
The letter wiriting competition is being conducted by Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) in conjunction with Universal Postal Union (UPU) a specialised agency of the United Nations that coordinates postal policies among member states.
The competition is aimed at improving literacy through the art of letter-writing while encouraging participants to express their creativity and refine their language skills. It targets young primary and secondary school learners of not more than 15 years old.
According to a Macra communique, those who want to participate must be Malawian citizens and must submit an essay with not more than 800 words which must have a school stamp.
“Entries must not bear any name or address. Only covering letter, must have a name, date of birth, address, telephone number or email address. The entries must be submitted by March 22,” reads the communication in part.
Macra communications manager Clara Ngwira in an interview said the competition is also taking place in 192 other countries who are member States of UPU.
She said: “It develops their skills in composition and the ability to express their thoughts clearly. It is an excellent way of encouraging literacy in children and young people.”
Ngwira said UPU announces a theme and it is down to participating countries to organise the competiton at national level with support from its post agency and local education authorities.
“Each country chooses its national winner and submits the entry for the international showdown which is coordinated by the UPU,” she said.
Pen Malawi projects officer Wezi Panje said the competition comes at a right time when writing standards are dwindling in Malawi and the interest in reading is fading.
Panje said: “The more these young ones are exposed to such exercises, the more their interest in both writing and reading will grow. Writing boosts the critical mind which is essential to the development of their communities and their nation.”
The first prize is K500 000, second prize is K300 000 and K200 000 is the third prize. The top three winners will also receive a laptop each.
The theme for this year’s competition is: write a message to an adult about the world that we live in. This is not the first time for Malawi to participate in the competition which was launched in 1971