A little over a decade ago, there was little discussion of the challenges that girls in sub-Saharan Africa faced with their periods. The issue was talked over in hush tonnes in the bedrooms of girls instead of it being discussed openly as it should be.
When you dig deeper into why this is happening; you are answered by one heart-wrenching statement: In a country where most people earn less than two hundred shillings a day, is a family going to get bread, milk and food, or a girl’s sanitary pads?
Currently, as many as one in 10 girls in sub-Saharan Africa are missing school during their menstruation cycle due to lack of access to the products they need [without shame or secrecy]
As much as private organisations and NGOs are constantly at the forefront of dealing with the issue of sustainable sanitary pad distribution in schools, one major problem remains; The products alone aren’t enough.
While products and materials are essential, A girl first needs to understand what is happening to their body and not having basic information about reproductive health, will lead to mismanagement of the products as well as not knowing how to deal with that time of the month.
With this, Procter & Gamble (P&G), manufacturer of the Always brand, has launched a campaign in partnership with various retailers to increase provision of sanitary pads for needy girls across Kenya as well as teaching the girls on menstrual health, reproductive health education and self-confidence.
The Always Keeping Girls in School Program which began more than 10 years ago distributes for free sanitary towels to girls from underprivileged areas, and also focuses on educating these young girls about health issues, building their self-confidence and teaching them how to budget and save.
As part of the campaign, P&G is inviting the Kenyan public to buy Always sanitary pads, which P&G will match in number and will be donated to girls across Kenya.
Irene Mwathi-Miheso Communications Manager P&G said that when we think of the reasons that keep girls from going to school, from thriving, sanitary towels should not be one of them. We have seen over the years that the intervention of providing sanitary towels coupled with puberty education goes a long way in increasing the girls’ confidence level”
The in-store campaign kicks off in mid-November and will continue to December 2017 and it hopes to provide over 10,000 girls with a full year’s supply of sanitary towels. The campaign will be running in all the major supermarkets and mini markets in the country.
Through the campaign, P&G aims to establish strategic partnerships with customers and government stakeholders to increase participation in closing the gaps in the provision of sanitary pads for girls in under-privileged areas in Kenya.
In collaboration with the Government and other partners, P&G has been so far been able to distribute over 8 million sanitary pads to more than 100,000 girls across Kenya.
“P&G appreciates the support by our partners over the years in the drive to keep girls in school by providing them with sanitary pads. We also commend the Government which announced the provision of free sanitary pads for girls who have reached puberty, and aim to continue to offer our support,” Irene added.
The idea that a period is ever something to be embarrassed of should be broken. Let’s end the stigma and break the period taboo. Make menstruation something that should be celebrated and not shamed & let’s keep girls in school with Always.