Menstrual Hygiene Day, a global advocacy platform for non-profit organizations and government agencies to promote menstrual health reveals that some 65 percent of women and girls in Kenya are unable to afford sanitary pads.
Another research conducted by Kenya’s Ministry of Education revealed that girls lost an average of four school days every month, translating to two weeks of learning each term to deal with the menstrual cycle.
The trend is the same with girls in tertiary and higher education institutions across Kenya where most of them find it difficult to get sanitary pads.
To reverse this, a team of members of staff and faculty from Kibabii University dubbed “KIBU WOMEN” have started an initiative to support female students in a periodical distribution of sanitary pads to University students.
On August 4, 2022, the team presented several cartons of sanitary pads to the Dean of Students Dr. Alice Chemutai to support needy girls in the university.
The exercise was attended by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic and Student Affairs) Prof. Stanley Mutsotso.
“We have a long list of very needy students within the University and we all know it is a human indignity for our girls to lack these basic things,” Prof Mutsotso said.
Prof Mutsotso lauded the gesture as exemplary and encouraged people to keep up supporting these cases to ensure ‘our girls do not drop out due to lack of sanitary towels’.
The team also said that they carry out campaigns to end period stigma by providing education on menstrual hygiene management adding that menstruation has been surrounded by taboos and myths that excludes women from many aspects of socio-cultural life.
“Period stigma is a discrimination faced by young women and girls who undergo verbal shaming as unclean,” Dr. Chemutai said.
Through the exercise, the initiative has been able to reach out to many needy girls within the university by issuing them with sanitary pads thus boosting their self-esteem and improving their grades.
By Anne Wekesa and Roseland Lumwamu