Ksh470 Million Set Aside To Buy Sanitary Pads For School Girls
The government has budgeted Ksh470million to buy sanitary pads for 1.6 million girls in public primary and secondary schools. The programme targets girls in Class 6, 7 and 8 who are expected to have started experiencing their menstruation.
The Cabinet Secretary for Education, Prof George Magoha, disclosed this when he launched the programme for distribution of the pads at A.I.C Boarding girls, Kajiado County last Monday. Present during the occasion included the Chief Administrative Secretary, Ms Mumina Bonaya, the Principal Secretary for Early Learning and Basic Education, Dr Belio Kipsang, the Chairperson of Education & Research Committee, Florence Mutua among other women Members of Parliament and senior government officials.
Prof Magoha said the programme aimed at ensuring the government provides equal access to quality and relevant education for both boys and girls irrespective of their socio-economic status.
He said the programme contributes to improved performance of girls in education by boosting their pride and dignity, by ensuring reduced school absenteeism which enhances retention and transition of girls in the education cycle.
“It will also improve the health of the girls, some of whom end up using unsafe materials that can lead to infection,” Prof Magoha said.
He said that poor menstrual hygiene management causes adolescent girls’ anxiety and low self-esteem, thereby contributing to absenteeism and hence leading to poor performance in schools.
“Poor menstrual management keeps girls out of school for approximately 25% of their school days in a year,” the Cabinet Secretary observed, saying a significant number of girls dropped out due to lack of facilities in schools to help them manage the menstruation process.
Prof Magoha urged schools to ensure that there are adequate sanitary facilities including bathrooms for girls to be able to manage menstruation while at school.
The government spend Ksh240 million for the first time in the 2011/2012 financial year to provide towels to 443,858 girls in public primary drawn from 82 targeted districts in 4,114 schools across the country to benefit.
The programme was created over concerns that girls continued to drop out of school or failed to enroll in greater numbers compared to boys.
Lack of appropriate sanitary facilities and access to sanitary towels were identified as a deterrent to schooling.