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Group action keeps Migori Girls in School

A women group in Migori County has embarked on an initiative to produce reusable sanitary pads, so as to help keep the young girls in schools and reduce cases of teenage pregnancy across the county.

The chairperson of the Jua Kali Women Group, Judith Owuor, said the initiative’s main objective is to make the teenage girls in both primary and secondary schools have an easy time to concentrate in education and not be distracted by the menstrual flow.

She said that many girls, especially from the rural schools, those who reside in the slums, poor families, and others from poor backgrounds have a difficult time whenever they experience monthly menstrual flows, as the situation keeps others out of schools for lack of sanitary pads.

Jua kali women Group member sews and prepares re-usable sanitary pads at one of their sewing shops in Migori town. Photo by Geoffrey Satia.

Owuor added that the reusable sanitary pads are distributed to teenage girls in schools free of charge.

To ensure girls remain in school, Owuor noted that the group members offer guidance and counseling to the girls on how to use the pads and keep themselves safe from the increasing cases of teenage pregnancy that keep on increasing annually.

Speaking during the distribution of the sanitary pads to the schoolgirls, Migori primary school Deputy Head Teacher Gladys Achieng’ Odongo said that the initiative has not only helped the girls to handle their menstrual flows, but also to keep them in class.

She further revealed that the class performance of girls had drastically improved due to confidence derived from availability of sanitary pads at their convenient time, and also called on more well-wishers to help the government in the initiative.

The girls at Migori Primary School expressed confidence that the pads, soaps, and other essential items will help them reduce the cases of teenage pregnancies.

Men who work as boda boda riders, touts, and taxi drivers have been blamed for the increasing number of cases of teenage pregnancies in various places across the county. Majority of girls from poor background are easily lured to accept small gifts or money in exchange of sex, according to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Policy, recently launched in Migori County.

The report singles out child labour and child prostitution as high at fish beaches in Migori, as well as in sugarcane plantations and goldmines, which is largely driven by high levels of poverty.

By Geoffrey Satia

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