It is reported that over 60 per cent of school going girls in Trans Nzoia County lack sanitary towels forcing them to resort to unhygienic alternatives during their menstrual cycles.
This impacts negatively their education, health, and self-esteem in school.
Other girls especially those from humble backgrounds have found themselves teen mothers after falling on the traps of rogue men who bought them the towels and later impregnate them.
Worried by this trend and shocking statistics, Greater Purpose Organization has rolled out a vigorous campaign to educate girls on the effects of teenage pregnancies.
The organization in partnership with Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) is donating sanitary towels to students so that they are not exploited.
It targets to reach at least 7,000 vulnerable girls in Trans Nzoia County.
Use of unhygienic materials
Teresa Metto, a champion for girl child education in the organization, said teenage pregnancies are attributed to poverty, ignorance as well as myths about menstruation.
“It is sad that during this time and age, vulnerable girls use unhygienic materials during their menstrual cycles. Some use old sweaters, rags and pieces of mattresses because they cannot afford sanitary towels,” Metto said.
Speaking at St. Joseph’s Cheptil and Mateket secondary schools in Cherang’any Constituency during the distribution of sanitary towels, Motosiet ward Member of County Assembly (MCA) Jacklyne Kurgat urged the government to allocate funds for purchase of sanitary towels in girls capitation fee.
“There should be a vote for sanitary towels in every school going girl capitation fee so that they are not exposed to teen pregnancies,” Kurgat said.
She also called on people of good will and organizations to be part of the noble campaign against teenage pregnancies and related effects.
Mateket Secondary School Principal Caroline Rotich stated that girls who lacks the towels miss do not attend their classes between three and five days per month.
“Such a girl misses a minimum of 30 lessons per month and this greatly affects their academic performance,” Rotich said.
Gilbert Ng’etich, the Principal of St. Joseph’s Cheptil secondary school said other girls have dropped out of school for lack of the towels.
“In fact in some extreme cases, other girls from humble backgrounds have dropped out of school because they fear embarrassment,” Ng’etich said.
Negative effect on girl child education
Chemos Trikoy, a teenage pregnancies prevention champion urged parents to shun primitive cultures that exposes girls to exploitation.
He also emphasized that girls should not miss classes for lack of the crucial necessity.
“While we appreciate MTRH’s good gesture of providing these pads to school girls, we want to ask our parents both male and female to take an active role in providing sanitary towels. Fathers shoukd not assume it is the role of mothers.”Tirkoy said.
Margret Njoki, a student at Mateket secondary said students who lacks sanitary towels during menstruation have low self-esteem and cannot concentrate on their studies.
“Imagine coming to school without it. You cannot concentrate to what your teacher is teaching. In fact you fear raising you hand to answer questions or even stand up because you fear embarrassment,” Njoki said.
The girls commended the organization for coming up with the initiative to donate sanitary towels to the school and urged other partners to support such initiatives.