Supporting girls to stay in school
“We believe no girl should ever miss a day of school because of lack of access to affordable, hygienic sanitary products”
For Friends of Londiani, doing everything we can to keep girls in education is one of our biggest priorities. We want to tell you all about the small but significant problems girls face and what we're doing to support them.
The conditions of toilets in many schools in Kenya are basic and unhygienic. Where there are toilets, they are pit latrines and many do not have water anywhere nearby. This means girls often do not go to school when they have their period due to lack of facilities and potential for embarrassment.
Many girls do not have the money to buy sanitary products, or they live in remote areas where modern sanitary products are not easily available. If a girl cannot afford modern products, she is left with alternatives such as remaining at home sitting in a sandpit, scrounging for rags, or using cow dung to help her through that one week every month.
In many households, girls will need to ask for money and that's often kept my the man, which is culturally challenging and a girl’s needs are often not a priority where food and clothes are needed. The issue of menstrual hygiene is a taboo subject in the community, it is not discussed and
therefore the possibility of there being ‘a better way’ is not seen. Girls are often not taught about the development of their bodies, their menstrual cycles, pregnancy or sexual health leaving them vulnerable and not equipped to make wise choices.
What we are doing to help
Girls for Girls (G4G) is an innovative solution developed by girls, for girls and is run in partnership with Girl Guide and Girl Scout Leaders from around the world. The programme supports the local community by providing basic sanitary products and proper facilities so that girls can pursue education after puberty. It is a three part programme which includes hygiene/ health education, infrastructure development and economic empowerment. The programme was first piloted in Londiani back in 2010 and since then has reached 32 schools and 1707 girls across the region. Following the Girls for Girls programme a survey showed that:
- 82.6% of girls said that they did not miss any days of school since they were given
the sanitary kits
- 96.8% of girls want G4G to continue in their school
- 77.1% of girls said that they have seen a change in attitude and understanding towards
menstruation among their family and community since they got involved in the Girls for Girls
This post supports Menstrual Hygiene Day on 28 May 2016 #MHDay
Get involved at www.menstrualhygieneday.org because #menstruationmatters to everyone, everywhere.