MORE than three million girls in Kenya have no access to sanitary towels, Saidia Dada Network Kenya, a non-governmental organisation, has said.
The sanitary towels ambassador and project director Beatrice Muta said that it was shocking that there were many girls and women who are still using old blankets and leaves during their menstrual period. "I have gone round Kenya through saidia Dada Network and it is still shocking that there are many girls and women especially in the remote areas and villages still do not get access sanitary towels and they use whatever is available like old blankets, leaves, tissue papers," said Muta.
Muta speaking at Toi Primary school in Kibera while giving free sanitary towels said that the most affected are the girls whom have fathers as the single parent and they shy away from the topic and also in schools the re were also many girls facing a dilemma of telling their teachers and they are not educated on the matter. "We find that most girls shy away from telling their parents and also their teachers and this have adversely affected their education and like in places where there is poverty the parents cannot afford to buy sanitary towels the girls stay at home and do not go to school," said Muta.
She said that as an ambassador she has started training girls within schools and institutions on menstrual education, thereby helping them know how to handle themselves enabling them to concentrate more on their performance and everyday life. "My organization has been providing a solution to the discomfort of the monthly cycle that was and is still one of the major reasons for the high rate of school drop out amongst girls by giving them free sanitary towels and panties," Muta said.
Muta however said that even though the government has set aside Sh2.6 billion in the next financial year to buy sanitary towels for all schoolgirls across the country there was need for good accountable measures on the matter for the girls to really get the sanitary towels. "The government ought to have good managers of the funds to reach its cause and not have people embezzling the funds and also the government should also consider menstrual education in schools," said Muta.
Saidia Dada Network of Kenya (SDNK) is a project that seeks to improve the welfare of disadvantaged & marginalised girls and teenage mothers by addressing obstacles to their ability to fully participate in their development.