As the world continues to battle the pandemic, some semblance of normalcy is creeping back, albeit, cautiously.
This coming October 11, the city of Durban in South Africa will host the inaugural edition of Miss Eco-Tourism World 2021. The objective is to find “a young lady who is passionate about travelling and appreciates nature; who is vibrant, intelligent and beautiful” to promote nature conservation and boost eco-tourism.
Uganda will be represented by 20-year-old Mercy Adongo, who first competed in a beauty pageant in 2018 when she was 17 years old. She was crowned Miss Teso Carnival.
Adongo also competed in the Miss Ateker 2018, which was held in Amagoro, Kenya. The pageant draws contestants from the Teso tribes of Uganda and Kenya, the Turkana of Kenya, the Karimojong and Jie of Uganda, the Toposa of South Sudan and the Nyangatom of Ethiopia. She didn't win but was given the Miss Personality title.
In 2019, Adongo participated in the Miss Tourism Teso crown, held in her hometown of Soroti, in which she won the Miss Talent-Tourism title.
In 2020, she contested and won the Miss Teen Globe Uganda crown. This year she was selected to represent Uganda in the Miss Eco-Tourism World beauty pageant.
Adongo won for demonstrating her “potential and ability to showcase the country’s flora and fauna and cultural and historic sites that define Uganda as the Pearl of Africa,” she said.
She describes herself as an environmental activist and a travel enthusiast who loves nature. Adongo will compete against 35 contestants from different countries for the maiden Miss Eco-Tourism World crown.
Away from the catwalk, Adongo has a heart for helping those in need, perhaps born out of her personal experiences while growing up. Her school fees were paid for by charity organisation Compassion Uganda.
Adongo has also been working with tour companies such as the Kapchorwa-based Discover Sipi on tree planting campaigns in the Mount Elgon area.
“I have been holding meetings with the village elders in my region (eastern Uganda) to talk about the merits of conservation," she said.