12 secondary schools from Kenya are to participate in this year’s National Secondary School Music, Dance and Drama Competition at Mbale Senior Secondary school in Mbale district.

They include Kakamega High School, Kaaga Girls High School, and St. Mary’s Lwak High school, Dagoretti High School, Dry’s Girls School, St. Jospeh Junior Seminary Molo and Bungoma High School. Others are St. Joseph’ Nyabondo, Sironga Girls High School, Chavakali Boys, State House Girls and Narok High School.

A total of 63 secondary schools from Uganda have also registered for this year’s festival. Of these only 44 schools had arrived by Sunday morning when the competition kicked off. They include among others Muni Girls SS, Gulu Army SS, Teso College Aloet, Trinity College Nabingo, Luzira Ss, Kinyara SS, Kibubura Girls SS, Namasagali SS, Trinty College Kabale, Tororo Girls, Buddo SS, Nabumali High School, Mbale SS, Westvile High School, St. Catherine Girls SS and Masindi Army SS.

The theme for this year’s competition is Vision 20140, ”Harnessing young people’s potential for Uganda’s Socio-economic transformation”. David Mugisha Bigiira, the coordinator of Secondary Schools Performing Arts, Ministry of Education and Sport explains that the inclusion of Kenya in this year’s festival is aimed at promoting East African Integration as people begin to understand each other’s culture in the region.

He says Ugandan will also participate in the Kenya Music and dance festival due in August 8th -18th 2016 in Nairobi. Focusing on the theme, Bigiira asked the East African governments to invest in teenage girls and empower them to make important decisions and equip them to engage in the affairs of their communities so as to be on equal footing with their male counterparts.

He notes that investments are needed to protect the health of young people on sexual and reproductive health, to enable them to receive quality education and expand economic opportunities. The competition focuses on key areas such as Teenage Pregnancy and early marriages.

Benson Baritazali Kule, the Commissioner Secondary Education who officially opened the festival this morning asked participants and spectators to utilize the messages to create positive change within their communities

The festival is schedule to end on July 27th. This is the first time the competition is being organised outside Uganda National Theater. The 2017 National Festival will be co-hosted by Ntare High School, Mbarara High School, Mary Hill High School and Bweranyagi Girls School in Mbarara.