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County implements free sanitary pad programme

Kiambu Governor Kimani Wamatangi has launched a free sanitary pad programme for vulnerable girls in the county, to be distributed at the beginning of every academic term.

The programme aligns with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, which provides 17 development goals, including SDG 5, which is about “Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.

According to Wamatangi, the programme aims to benefit vulnerable girls and women in schools and in slum areas who are not able to buy sanitary pads every month.

“This is not a one-day affair; we will be distributing sanitary pads in slums and all public schools in every ward, three times a year in the beginning of every school term,” said Wamatangi,

The county boss further added that the County Government has put in place sustainable empowerment programmes to ensure the most needy and vulnerable in society are empowered.

“Plans are also underway to make sure that we have free sanitary pads in all public toilets present in Kiambu County,” said Wamatangi.

On her part, Kiambu Deputy Governor Rosemary Kirika, who was also present during the launch, lauded the governor’s initiative, saying a lot of women experience period poverty due to a lack of access to feminine essential products such as sanitary pads.

“According to a report by UNICEF, in Kenya, 65 percent of women are unable to afford sanitary pads, and about 1 million girls miss four school-days per month due to  lack of sanitary pads,” stated Kirika.

She noted that the programme will help the girls remain in school during their menses, enabling them to raise academic performance and restore dignity and self-esteem, which will ensure a better future and economic empowerment for the girl child in the long run.

“We are aware that because of poverty, many girls are forced to use pieces of dirty rugs, cotton wool, leaves, and even paper, while some even wash and recycle, thus exposing them to diseases and discomfort,” added the Deputy Governor.

According to the UNICEF 2007 report, a girl in primary school between grades 6 and 8 (3 years) loses approximately 18 weeks out of 108 school weeks. A girl in high school (4 years) loses 156 learning days, which is equivalent to almost 24 weeks out of 144 weeks of school.

By Grace Naishoo

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