Murangá based food processor, Del Monte Kenya Limited (DMKL), will coordinate the distribution of 5,200 packets of sanitary pads to 900 teenage girls in several primary and secondary schools in Murangá County, to empower them to achieve their full academic potential and curb the high rates of menstrual-related absenteeism.
The girls from Kihunguro, Ndula and Nginyi primary schools and Del Monte Mixed and Ndula secondary schools, will each get over 5 months’ supply of sanitary pads from the donation which includes 2,690 packets of sanitary pads from DMKL, 2,310 packets from Sunda International (the manufacturers of Softcare sanitary pads) and 200 packets from Africa Cotton Industries (the manufacturers of Flora sanitary pads).
Part of the sanitary pads donation, will be apportioned to candidates sitting their K.C.S.E (Kenya Certificate of Secondary School Education) and K.C.P.E (Kenya Certificate of Primary Education) final exams to sustain them for over five months, as they wind down their secondary and primary education respectively.
“We are committed to ensuring teenage girls in our community are equipped and empowered with information and materials to meet their menstrual health needs, so that they can focus on their education without worrying about their monthly menstrual cycles” said Margaret Nyoro, DMKL Marketing Manager.
The sanitary pads distribution drive is part of DMKL’s Women’s Health and Empowerment initiative, following a commitment it made with the United Nations Foundation (UNF) to empower the lives of more than 10,000 women, including its employees and the community, by providing them with health services and information on reproductive health cancers, contraceptives, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and menstrual health by 2024.
“Many girls are not able to access menstrual hygiene products, with Ministry of Health statistics published in 2019 indicating that 65% of women and girls in Kenya cannot afford them. That is why as a Company we came up with this menstrual health program to support teenage girls’ education and ensure that they live in dignity, while on their periods,’’ said Margaret.
Ministry of Education statistics published in 2018, indicate that girls miss 13 learning days in a term when they miss 4 days a month because of their periods. In an academic year of 9 months, this accumulates to 39 lost days, equivalent to 6 weeks of learning time.
Therefore, a girl in primary school between grades 6 and 8 (three years) loses 18 learning weeks out of 108 weeks. Within the four years of high school, a girl can lose 156 learning days equivalent to almost 24 weeks out of 144 weeks of learning. This is approx. 17% of learning time lost.