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Kenyan woman named winner of BBC podcast competition

By Stevens Muendo | August 27th 2021

Namulanta Kombo's podcast is scheduled to launch in December. [Courtesy]

A Kenyan woman has won an international podcast competition for writing touching letters to daughter. 

Namulanta Kombo, 38, emerged the top in a field of about 1,000 entries from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. 

Launched earlier this year, the BBC World Service’s first International Podcast Competition was open to non-broadcast and podcast professionals from the three countries. 

What inspired Kombo to enter the competition is what she terms as a missing gap in the life she experienced and the desire for her five-year-old daughter to have a different life.

“One of the things I would love for her to know would be to just be the best version of herself, unapologetically. That is the one message I would like to give her today.”

Kombo says she worried about what would happen if she was not around to help her daughter navigate through life. And that is how she started toying with the idea of writing a ‘handbook to life’ that would gather anecdotes from other people.

She started writing letters to her daughter, making a comparison between herself and her daughter, a younger version of her.

It is this quest – Letters to My Daughter – that won her the BBC World Service’s award.

The podcast will hear experiences, anecdotes and advice from mothers across Africa, and around the world, that they want to share with their daughters.

“I asked friends and family to write letters to the women in their lives, and considered the best way to get these letters out to the world. The BBC competition came about and I saw it as an opportunity to put my thoughts together,” asserts Kombo. 

The competition was looking for a creative and original podcast idea. 

“The BBC was looking for podcast ideas that would resonate with women around the world. We were overwhelmed by the breadth and quality of the entrants. Within that excellent field, one idea stood out. Namulanta Kombo’s podcast will curate letters from women across the world to their daughters. It’s a wonderful idea with huge potential. I can’t wait to hear the first episode,” says the BBC’s Director General, Tim Davie.

Born in Nairobi, Kombo and has spent the last nine years working in the development sector on projects affecting Kenyans and supporting government agencies on monitoring, evaluation and policy work. She also runs a play centre to promote learning through messy and imaginative play as well as planning national art competitions and family fun days.

Kombo's podcast is scheduled to launch in December and the competition will return early next year.

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