While periods are supposed to be a normal monthly biological phenomenon, for many girls it’s bad news. Periods are supposed to demonstrate a woman’s body’s preparation for a possible pregnancy, but it has been a cause of discomfort, absenteeism and even quitting of school for many girls in Kenya. It is, however, important to keep the girl in school to achieve the SDGs.
According to The Guardian as many as one in 10 girls in sub-Saharan Africa are missing school during menstruation.
Additionally, 65% of women and girls (pdf) in Kenya are unable to afford sanitary pads. This is due to the high poverty levels among Kenyan families that make them unable to avoid these essential items.
The situation in Kenya is so dire that in a 2015 study of 3000 Kenyan women, Dr Penelope Phillips-Howard found 1 in 10 15-year-old girls were having sex to get money to pay for sanitary ware.
These research results demonstrates that lack of sanitary pads among school-going girls in Kenyan slums and rural communities is derailing the attainment of sustainable development goals.
Keeping the girl in school
That is why sheRise, an initiative that champions for young women education launched a one-month campaign dubbed
#Iam4Her that aims at collecting sanitary pads from well wishers and thereafter donating to girls in schools as they do mentorship sessions to the girls ahead of the 2018 national exams.
According to sheRise founder and University of Nairobi student Wendy Aura, the main volunteers for the campaign to keep a girl in school are campus students who are helping with the donations and collections from other well wishers.
“We are also in the process of partnering with other organisations outside campus. Someone may support the campaign by donation of the sanitary pads or giving money instead,” Ms Aura told The Campus Lady Magazine.
“I believe the power is in my hands, with necessary support, to empower them get back to school,” she said.
To participate in the campaign, individuals can send their donations via MPESA to 0700 489 582 or call the number to be advised on the way forward.
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“We are still seeking support from various stakeholders. Our target schools are located within Kayole and Huruma areas,” Ms Aura said.
sheRise does mentorship for girls in schools and give them reasons to value education.
The organisation also seeks to empower young girls who are young mums to never stop their education cos of pregnancies.
To achieve this Ms Aura said that they conduct sexual and reproductive talks to young women to equip them with knowledge on how to protect themselves to remain in school.