Chole Richard

An illustrated poetry writing mentorship for young people and launch of “A Child is A Seedling”

AFTER A LONG PANDEMIC AND WORK-RELATED DELAYS, WE FINALLY LAUNCHED THE SELF-PUBLISHED POETRY ANTHOLOGY, A CHILD IS A SEEDLING. It was organized as part of a two-day engaging, writing mentorship program to capture and condense the enduring spirit behind the process leading to the publication of A Child is a Seedling. At least eighty learners from ten primary and secondary schools in and around Jinja town were represented. Naturally, PMM Girls’ School had to host being the birthplace of the anthology.

The event that took place on the 12th and 13th of April 2024 was aimed at not just launching the anthology but also providing aspiring young poets a platform to engage in a comprehensive poetry writing master class. We also sought to foster creativity, mentorship, and collaboration among learners, guiding them through crafting their own illustrated poems while celebrating the anthology’s publication.

We crafted eight objectives to achieve our aims:

  1. To provide the participating learners with an immersive learning experience in poetry writing, covering key elements and techniques through interactive sessions and mentorships.
  2. To encourage students to explore their creativity and express themselves through poetry in writing and visual representations.
  3. To facilitate mentorship activities by inviting resourceful personalities to deliver inspirational speeches, share knowledge, and guide aspiring young poets.
  4. To Provide a collaborative learning experience through group discussions, brainstorming, and collaborative sessions, both face-to-face and online.
  5. Create opportunities for learners to network with peers, educators, and professionals in the literary field, encouraging dialogue, exchange of ideas, and future collaborations.
  6. Recognize participants’ efforts and achievements by awarding certificates of participation on completion of the illustrated poetry writing exercises.
  7. Celebrate the achievement of PMM Girls’ Schools’ Alumni poets and recognize their contribution to poetry.
  8. To collect copies of all the poems created at the event for further editing and curation before sharing them with all participating schools.

We designed it to be an intensive, yet fun-filled series of activities including, reading and listening to poems, knowledge, and experience sharing sessions, guided discussions and brainstorming, group work and plenary sessions, conceptualizing ideas for creating individual poems and illustrating them through collaborative engagement, individual exhibitions of work in progress and completed poems, and so forth.

The activities were tailored to meet the separate learning needs of primary and secondary school students. The process ensured that each learner participant was provided an opportunity to go through an illustrated creative writing experience covering key elements of poetry writing, and produced their own illustrated piece of poetry. We ensured that there was no shortage of learning materials like writing papers, flip charts, paints, crayons, colored pencils, and so forth.

Activities were punctuated by inspirational speeches by experienced personalities in Uganda’s literary creative sphere, a panel of discussion, and testimonies from contributors to A Child is a Seedling. We crowned it all with a musical, courtesy of a local celebrity, Sandra K Busoga Princes.

While certificates could not be provided at the end of the two days as desired, all learners had the opportunity to complete their illustrated poetry writing tasks. Certificates had to wait for another week before delivery to participating schools.

I believe we were at least seventy percent successful in achieving our set aims and objectives. The event’s success greatly depended on the voluntarism and enthusiasm of facilitators, “back stoppers”, and other parties in the mentorship process and the logistical, moral, and financial support.  

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