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94 schools to get free sanitary pads in a Narok County Government initiative

EDUCATION
By Charles Ngeno | October 13th 2014

Over 10,000 girls are set to benefit from an initiative by the Narok County Government which seeks to provide sanitary towels to 94 schools at a cost of Sh9.6 million.

Speaking during the official launch of the programme at Kilgoris Girls Secondary School, Deputy Governor Evelyne Aruasa said the initiative has been informed by the need to boost the girl child’s education.

“Fifteen per cent of girls in our county drop out of school because of lack of sanitary pads. This is a grim picture in addition to the fact that the same girl child has been exposed to retrogressive cultural practices,” said Ms Aruasa.

She exuded optimism that the programme will raise girls’ academic performance, restore dignity and self-esteem and reduce absenteeism.

According the deputy governor, statistics indicate that a girl in high school loses 156 learning days, which is equivalent to almost 24 weeks out of 144 weeks of school.

“There is need to reverse this worrying trend. We are determined to use this as one of the many success stories of devolution,” she said.

She added that many girls continue to miss school since they cannot afford sanitary towels.

She noted that most of them use pieces of rugs, cotton wool, leaves and paper, which they wash and recycle, exposing themselves to diseases and discomfort.

RESTORE DIGNITY

The deputy county boss said the programme will guarantee access to safe, affordable, convenient and culturally appropriate methods of dealing with menstruation that will also restore the dignity of the girl child.

“Reports from the Ministry of Education indicate that several girls have dropped out of school because of the stigma associated with the inability to have sanitary pads. This in the long run restricts the girl child from accessing education,” she said.

She appealed to partners to help extend the initiative to girls in primary schools. She warned that Kenya’s endeavour for gender parity by 2015 will remain unattainable if the girl child is not retained in school.

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