Sigalagala National Polytechnic administration in Kakamega County has established a Lactation room to enable lactating mothers who teach at the facility to breastfeed their babies in a secure environment.
The facility will also be used by students from the institution who have babies. The Dean of students Geoffrey Wanyonyi said the institution established the lactorium with support from the Canadian Government.
He said the facility will be operational on Monday next week and asked the Polytechnic’s fraternity to take care of it.
The Officer in charge of the facility Cafeline Kwamboka said the Institution is the only one with the facility among polytechnics in Kenya. “No other TVET institution has a facility like this, you should count yourself lucky,” she told beneficiary mothers.
She said it is a project within the institution under the gender mainstreaming section and the dean of students.
“We were trying to see how we can assist you once we saw this challenge where some of the tutors had babies and were forced to come with them in class. The young ones need to be taken good care of,” she noted.
She said the facility has high hygiene standards which should be maintained by all those who will be using it.
Kwamboka said the Institution’s management has a passion in Gender Equality which has enabled them to achieve gender mainstreaming.
“Gender mainstreaming has not been a challenge at Sigalagala National Polytechnic because our management is gender sensitive. When we proposed to the board of management, they were so glad and we got all the support we needed,” she noted.
The idea was mooted when some of the staff went for training by the Kenya Education For Employment Programme(KEFEP).
KEFEP is a collaboration programme between Kenya and Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan). “They are the ones who made us realize the vision for the girls. We realized that it is good for our girls to be retained in college,” she noted.
She said that in the past, most women who studied in the institution dropped out or missed classes whenever they got pregnant and when they had babies.
“Most of them will miss classes when they have babies as they do not have caretakers. As the gender mainstreaming, we thought that we needed to have such a facility,” she added.
By Moses Wekesa