Menstrual Health: M-PESA Foundation Donates Sanitary Towels to 180,000 Girls

Cabinet Secretary for Education, Professor George Magoha (left) and M-PESA Foundation Executive Director, Les Baillie (right) with sanitary towels to be distributed to 180, 000 girls across the country.

  • The Foundation partners with the Ministry of Education to distribute pads to needy girls from across the country

At least 180,000 needy school-going girls will benefit from 3 months’ supply of sanitary towels donated by M-Pesa Foundation.

The sanitary towel distribution drive is part of M-PESA Foundation’s Ksh 44 million menstrual hygiene programme launched in December 2020 as part of Safaricom’s 20th-anniversary celebrations.

“Many girls are not able to access menstrual hygiene products with statistics indicating that 65 per cent of women and girls in Kenya cannot afford them while 42 per cent of school-going girls have never used sanitary pads. That is why as a Foundation we came up with this menstrual health program to support girls’ education and ensure that they live in dignity,’’ said Les Baille, Executive Director, M-PESA Foundation.

Receiving the donation, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha at Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) said this initiative will go a long way to ensure 80,000 disadvantaged children attend schools on all days of the month.

“Today, the MPESA Foundation is donating 540,000 packets of sanitary towels to girls in the urban slums and areas of pockets of poverty across the country,” he said.

The project also aims to create awareness among 10,000 adolescent boys on menstruation, sexual reproductive health and life skills and enable 57 community-based mentors to support the adolescents. 

In 2016, Kenya assented into law the Basic Education Amendment Bill (2016) by President Uhuru Kenyatta. 

The law places the responsibility of providing free, sufficient and quality sanitary towels on the government in order to reduce the number of girls missing school during their menstrual cycle.

FSG, a mission-driven consulting firm’s report, An Opportunity to Address Menstrual Health and Gender Equity, found out that significant barriers to high-quality menstrual hygiene management persist across the country and remain a particular challenge for low-income women and girls.

It outlines that only 50 per cent of girls in Kenya openly discuss menstrual issues at home with others treating the issue as a taboo. The report also found out that 2 out of three girls in rural areas receive pads from their sexual partners.

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