Procter & Gamble (P&G) has kicked off the “Always Keeping Girls in School” (AKGIS) Programme in 20 counties. The initiative will see 10,896 girls receive a year’s supply of Always sanitary pads, underwear, puberty education and life skills.
The programme also engages the girls’ parents in regular discussions around cultural beliefs and practices such as child marriage and early pregnancy, which limit their daughters’ educational opportunities and endanger their health.
P&G Legal Counsel, Government Relations & Public Policy Lead for East Africa, Mr George Owuor, said: “Research has shown that a girl who is absent from school due to menses for four days a month loses 13 learning days, which is equivalent to two weeks in every school term. These are just some of the reasons our girls perform poorly. We keep asking ourselves why this is happening. Let us give our girl as much help as we can to ensure they stay in school.”
The First Lady of Nyandarua County, Mrs Anne Kimemia, said during the kick-off of the programme in her county that she will work with P&G to prevent girls from dropping out of school due to their menstruation periods.
“We hope that together with the P&G we will abolish the stigma and embarrassment that a young girl goes through. Our interactions with the girls have shown that those who lack sanitary pads resort to using unhygienic methods, which in the end lead to high drop-out rates in school. In Nyandarua County 825 girls from 21 schools will benefit from the programme,” Mrs Kimemia added.
Beyond donating sanitary towels to girls, Always Keeping Girls in School also gives the girls free education on puberty, menstruation, personal hygiene, sexual health and HIV. The program will help girls from vulnerable backgrounds from dropping out of school during those days, and will in turn lead to better performance in school.
The company has already donated over eight million sanitary pads to the Always Keeping Girls in School programme since the programme commenced eleven years ago.