Empowering Girls Through Menstrual Hygiene.

In Kenya like many parts of the world, the simple act of attending school can be fraught with challenges for young girls. Among these challenges, menstrual hygiene often takes center stage, posing significant barriers to education and overall well-being. However, amidst these struggles, ActionAid Kenya is making meaningful strides in empowering girls and transforming communities through its initiatives.

Zamzam Hassan, Project Coordinator or the Girl Generation Programme in Garissa County, leads ActionAid in distributing hygiene kits to girls at a local school, promoting health and dignity for girls.

One of the critical interventions spearheaded by ActionAid Kenya is the provision of Hygiene kits for girls in schools where we are implementing our work. Despite the government’s mandate to provide sanitary towels in schools, the harsh reality is that many girls still lack access to these necessities. Through assessment, ActionAid Kenya identified access to hygiene kits as a pressing need and stepped in to bridge the gap. By supplying hygiene kits, which include essential menstrual hygiene products, ActionAid Kenya is not only addressing a practical need but also restoring dignity and confidence to young girls.

Moreover, AAIK goes beyond mere provision by fostering knowledge and empowerment through girls’ forums in 30 primary schools in both Isiolo and Garissa Counties. These forums, guided by a meticulously curated manual, serve as safe spaces where girls can learn about menstrual hygiene and related health issues including ending Female Genital Mutilation. The impact is tangible: girls are equipped with knowledge that not only improves their hygiene but also empowers them to advocate for their rights and well-being.

Girls’ forum session during the school holiday in Kamuthe Garissa County.

“Menstruation should never stand in the way of a girl’s dreams and ambitions. By creating a period-friendly world and ensuring access to menstrual hygiene products, education, and support, we can help girls reach their full potential.” Teresiah Warui, Programme Coordinator, The Girl Generation-Africa Led Movement

The distribution of hygiene kits (which include essential menstrual hygiene products) has far-reaching effects beyond hygiene alone. It serves as a catalyst for increased retention and completion rates among girls in primary schools. By ensuring that girls can manage their menstrual needs effectively, AAIK is breaking down one of the barriers to education, paving the way for a brighter future.

Furthermore, AAIK recognizes the importance of engaging boys in conversations about menstrual hygiene. Through collaboration with our partners, AAIK is promoting awareness and understanding among both boys and girls. By dismantling stigmas and fostering inclusivity, we create a supportive environment where girls can thrive.

Diram Duba, Project Coordinator for the Girl Generation Programme in Isiolo County, leads a vibrant Girls and Boys Forum on human rights, inspiring young minds to shape a brighter future for their community

In essence, AAIK’s efforts in promoting menstrual hygiene not only improve health outcomes but also foster empowerment and social change. By investing in girls’ education and well-being, we are laying the foundation for stronger, more equitable communities. As we mark World Menstrual Hygiene under the theme Period Friendly World, let us continue to support initiatives that uplift and empower girls to realize their dreams.

Author: Ezra Kiriago ,Communications Coordinator ActionAid Kenya.

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