M-PESA Foundation, in partnership with the Ministry of Education will distribute 3 months’ supply of sanitary towels to over 180,000 needy girls from across the country.
The Foundation has committed KES 21 million to procure and distribute the pads which were flagged off by Professor George Magoha, Cabinet Secretary of Education.
“Access to sanitary towels remains a critical challenge for many girls across the country and the ministry remains determined to ensure that no school going girl is left out of class due to lack of pads. We welcome the continued partnership with M-PESA Foundation which we started in 2019 when we distributed sanitary pads to over 800,000 girls”, Said Professor Magoha.
The sanitary towel distribution drive is part of M-PESA Foundation’s KES 44 million menstrual hygiene programme launched in December 2020 as part of Safaricom’s 20th anniversary celebrations. The programme’s other element includes providing another 30,000 teenage girls in Murang’a, Siaya and Kilifi Counties with sexual and reproductive health education in order to reduce teen pregnancies and improve menstrual care.
“Many girls are not able to access menstrual hygiene products with statistics indicating that 65 per cent of women and girls in Kenya cannot afford them while 42 per cent of school-going girls have never used sanitary pads. That is why as a Foundation we came up with this menstrual health program to support girls’ education and ensure that they live in dignity,” said Les Baille, Executive Director, M-PESA Foundation.
Statistics indicate that girls miss out 13 learning days in a term when they miss four days a month because of their periods. Additionally, a report by Procter & Gamble (P&G) indicates that 42 per cent of Kenyan schoolgirls have never used sanitary pads, and instead use alternatives such as rags, blankets, pieces of mattress, tissue paper and cotton wool putting their health and hygiene at risk.
The project also aims to create awareness among 10,000 adolescent boys on menstruation, sexual reproductive health and life skills and enable 57 community-based mentors to support the adolescents.
In October 2019, the M-PESA Foundation provided 850,000 girls in class 8 and form 4 with 3 months’ sanitary pads at a cost of KES 281m.