Kenya: Government funds free sanitary pads for schoolgirls

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Sat, 2011-09-24 15:02 by Hans · Forum/category:
If used efficiently, the funding will reduce absenteeism from school. Photograph: Corinne Dufka/Reuters

It is the norm in Kenya for girls to miss school when they are menstruating due to the lack of sanitary pads. But a new gender-responsive approach to budgeting could change this

Miriam Gathigah for IPS, part of the Guardian development network, Friday 29 July 2011 09.48 BST

Read the complete article in The Guardian

For the first time ever, the finance minister has allocated almost $4m from the current national budget to provide free sanitary pads to schoolgirls.

This comes after persistent pressure from women parliamentarians, who took the issue of girls' absenteeism from school due to lack of sanitary pads to parliament. It was a campaign that left their male counterparts speechless, for such matters are rarely spoken about in public, let alone in parliament, in Kenya's conservative society.

In their persistent lobbying, the women parliamentarians brought to the fore a problem that could have continued to hinder the education of young girls. Thirteen-year-old Dorothy Akinyi, a standard seven pupil from Kibera, arguably the largest slum in Africa, stays at home every time she menstruates.

"Without sanitary pads, life at school is difficult. We are subjected to very embarrassing and humiliating incidences, especially from the boys. Tying a pullover around your waist to hide the soiled patch behind your uniform in case the tissue leaks is a dead giveaway. We choose to stay at home," explains Akinyi. But the situation is set to change for Akinyi and other girls like her – if the money allocated for the sanitary wear is spent efficiently. …

Read the complete article in The Guardian