By Ndungu Gachane
Centre for Women Empowerment in Technology CWE-TECH wants the Government of Kenya to resume with immediate effect, the issuance of sanitary pads to school girls.
The CWE-TECH co-founders, Dr Judy Makira and Eunice Owino said now that schools have been reopened, it’s important that the government through the Education Ministry kicks off the process of sanitary pads distribution to ensure that the teenagers do not skip school during their menses.
Speaking at Kiboi Primary School in Mugoiri Ward of Kiharu Constituency Muranga County, Dr Makira who doubles up as the Vice Chairperson for Muranga Municipality Board and a Lecturer at Embu University said to ensure that girls do not waste time out of school due to lack of pads, the relevant department should facilitate the supply of the same in time.
“The school girls have stayed in homes for close to a year due to Covid-19 pandemic and for the needy it will mean more time wasting in homes if the sanitary towels will not be availed in time, this will adversely affect their learning and consequently their performance,” she added.
On her part, Ms Owino said lack of sanitary pads has seen girls being taken advantage of by some predators who lure them for sex in exchange of money for pads and in turn being impregnated or infected with diseases such as Hiv and Aids.
“This can be avoided if government can join hands with organizations to ensure that no girl lacks these basic amenities,” she said.
Data from the Education ministry shows that a girl absent from school for four of 28 days loses 13 learning days.
This is equivalent to two weeks of learning in every school term.
In an academic year (nine months) a girl loses 39 learning days equivalent to six weeks of learning time.
The Co founders of the group which aims to close the gender gap in technology and build a more equal world through provision and access to technological tools that will generate a positive chain reaction with extensive outcomes has been in the fore front in motivating both the boy and the girl child by way of offering counselling and sex education.
On Sunday, the group in partnership with The United Nations Population Fund (NFPA), formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities donated dignity kits to pupils which included sanitary pads, whistles, under wears for boys, school bags among other items.
The kits offered under the program Post Covid-19 back to school debrief and dignity kits saw pupils ask different personal, social and general questions in bid to get assistance from the Counsellors.
The two Co founders had tagged stakeholders such as lawyers, scholars and accomplished University students to restore hope and confidence to pupils.
They noted that concerted efforts should be put in place to save the boy child who they said feel left out and without a mentor.
“In our programs we have noted that boys feel isolated from mentorship programs and its high time we also consider them, that’s why we had tagged male professionals, scholars and motivational speakers to help them out,” Ms Owino added.
The boys’ session was led by St Paul Boys teacher Mr Boniface Mwangi, an aspiring Kuppet Vice Treasurer in the upcoming elections.
“They have ventilate serious issues about their body change, sex and social behavior, they are yearning to learn more and should be accorded the opportunity,” Mr Mwangi noted.