Women Reps protest delay to disburse Sh940 million for sanitary towels

Kirinyaga Women Rep Jane Njeri Maina. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu and his Public Service counterpart Aisha Jumwa are in a spot over delayed disbursement of Sh940 million set aside for sanitary pads.

Woman Representatives want the CSs to explain why the Treasury is yet to release the funds despite being allocated in the budget.

Addressing the National Assembly, the Women MPs Njeri Maina (Kirinyaga) and Doris Donya (Kisii) said despite assurance by the CSs that the money would be released, this was yet to happen.

"More than 30 Woman Representatives had a sitting with Gender CS Aisha Jumwa over the issuance of sanitary towels but that has not yielded fruit. As Woman Reps, we have exhausted our personal finances to buy sanitary towels so that girls can go back to school," Ms Maina stated.

The Kirinyaga Woman Rep faulted the Kenya Kwanza administration for promising to ensure girls access sanitary towels while signing a women charter on June 10 last year but was yet to fulfill the same.

"When we were signing the charter with women, we were promised free sanitary towels. In this day and age sanitary towels are a pressing concern to the majority of girls in Kirinyaga county and I believe in other parts of the country," she said.

Maina said the Treasury was yet to release funds for the National Government Affirmative Funds that they would use to buy sanitary towels for girls.

"We must be told where is the Sh940 million for sanitary towels," she said.

Ms Donya accused the Education CS Machogu of misleading the House in May when he said that he had directed the Ministry of Gender and all stakeholders to deal with the issue once and for all.

"Five months later our children have no sanitary pads. I can't be ashamed to state that he did not give us the correct answer. We have not received any positive answer over the sanitary towels," she said.

Deputy Speaker Gladys Boss directed the Woman Representative to raise the issue through a written statement to Education and Gender committees to probe the matter.

Issuance of free sanitary towels, establishment of Women Rights Agency under the Office of the President, free diapers for three months' babies and appointment of 50 per cent of women in Cabinet were some of the pledges President Ruto made during the women conference center at June 10, last year at Nyayo stadium, Nairobi.

Ruto promised that female students taking science-related courses in Technical and Vocational Education and Training institutions will get bursaries.

"Kenya Kwanza coalition is the place for women of Kenya and there are already clear signs showing most of the elected women in Parliament will be from our coalition. We will also produce the most elected women governors," he told women leaders at the conference.

He pledged to ensure women play key role in mainstream politics, governance, leadership and entrepreneurship.