Oloonkuruman Primary school girls being sensitised on puberty and hygiene maintenance.

Over 500 school girls from families living in Olonkuruman area of Kajiado County have benefited from free sanitary towels and a pair of underwear donated by Kenya Works and Victory Community Development Centre (VICODEC).

The initiative dubbed ‘A confident girl, a brighter future’ that aims at reducing absenteeism and improve girls’ academic performance was marking Word Menstrual Hygiene Day that was held on Wednesday.

VICODEC Director Joseph Wachira said the programme targets the teenage girls in the interior parts of the county, adding that so far 10 counties have benefited.

“We are providing them with free reusable sanitary towels that will serve them for one year. The program started 10 years ago and we have already donated more sanitary pads to other schools in Kajiado County,” she while distributing pads to girls at Oloonkuruman Primary school where the young girls were also sensitised on puberty and hygiene maintenance.

School head teacher said girls get low self-esteem during menstruation which has affected their relationship with others. But with interventions by private sector and other stakeholders the gaps will be reduced by providing basic needs, he noted.

Statistics shows that menstruation causes Kenyan adolescent girls to lose an average of 3.5 million learning days per month.

UNESCO estimates that one in 10 adolescent girls in Kenya miss school during menses and eventually drop out because of menstruation-related issues, such as the inaccessibility of affordable sanitary protection, the social taboos related to menstruation, and the culture of silence that surrounds it.

The cost of sanitary ware and towels is also beyond the reach of most young women and girls, who in are the majority of the unemployed and those living in poverty. Most girls end up not going to school, because they cannot afford to buy sanitary ware.

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