Water & Sanitation ensure 2000 Kenyan girls learn

Apr 30, 2014

We are adolescent and happy!

Halo Partners,

It’s once again a pleasure to update you on the progress of our project. I last submitted on January 2014 to you our report titled ' A girls freedom to go to school' in which we targeted 3 primary schools in rural Nyamira county where we provided training to 20 adolescent girls on sexual maturity and personal hygiene, on top of which we provided the entire adolescent girls in the schools with 4 packets of sanitary towels that are enough to last them each for 4 consecutive months. The sanitary towels we distributed are still in use and have tremendously increased the attendance of girls in these schools, the schools have recorded on average 44% increase in attendance and retention among adolescent girls experiencing menstruation period. Your help has made it easy and provided freedom for these girls to attend school during their menstruation cycle. Girls who were initially stigmatized, full of shame and used leaves, sand and worn clothes as their sanitary pads can now use safe sanitary towels, freely go to school every day without shame. The girls are a happy lot.

For these past three months we have continued training the girls from the 3 schools we are targeting on sexual maturity and hygiene sanitation. These schools in rural areas are Kiangoso, Kebobora and Nyangorora primary schools. In Kenya especially in rural areas, tradition, culture mixed with extreme male chauvinism has been hindering women empowerment right from childhood where girls are not allowed to attend primary education and if they do they are not guaranteed to pursue higher learning such as high schools and colleges. For a longtime the mindsets of the rural community in Kenya has been fixed on girls in their adolescent to get married and raise families. Through other projects by our organization we have been implementing women empowerment programs, behavior change towards extreme culture and perception and awareness programs all aimed at creating a culture where their is an equal and fair opportunity for both gender and women.

During the month of February we did follow up on the use of the sanitary towels, we did this by conducting a session with girls in the three schools, where we met with the girls and got their feedbacks on the use of the sanitary towels, we also trained those who were beginning to experience the menstruation cycle on the proper use as well as providing them with new towels. It was a great experience because we were able to learn from the girls of the challenges they are experiencing, for instance we noted that there were a number of girls who were sharing their towels with others at home, we also noted that most of the girls after using the towels would reuse the towels again just to ensure that their provision lasts longer. In the meeting we strongly advised the girls against sharing the towels and also reusing them, we made it clear that the sharing and reusing of towels would lead to infections and diseases, the girls were to use the available sanitary for their own use and not with other girls, instead we advised them to encourage the other girls to enroll to the schools that we provide sanitary towels so that they too can receive.

In March, we conducted meetings with the girls and we were happy that more adolescent girls who had dropped out of school were enrolling back to school again, the sanitary towels was encouraging girls who were desperate and shameful to turn back to school, we always remain with extra sanitary towels to distribute to new girls as they come back to school.

“My sister came home with new sanitary pads and told me she had been given in school for free, i decided that i will go back to school so that i can be given too, now am back to school and have been getting them for the last 3 months, am so grateful for the people who have given me this towels”, Zainab a 13 year old primary school girl.

"I dropped out of school to help my mother with farm work and home chores, the real reason i dropped though was that i felt ashamed every time i experienced my menstruation cycle, and could not stand the guilt and laughter from boys in our school, i was also affected as i could not learn well as others. But when i was told by a classmate that they were being given sanitary pads i came back. Thank you very much for giving me the sanitary pads”, Sheila is a 14 year old primary school girl. If Sheila hadn't dropped out she would have done her national examinations and joined high school, thanks to you she is doing her national examination end of this year.

The sanitary pads we distributed are coming to due this month and with your help we will get them others to last them the next four months till August and also train them on sexual maturity and personal hygiene. We would like to extend our services to provision of undergarments and shoes to these girls as most of them lack them and are having difficulty using the new sanitary towels. We thank you for your esteemed support! .Till next time, bye.

Jan 23, 2014

A girl's freedom to go school

Dear Donors,

Happy New Year, I would like to take this opportunity to extended heartfelt greetings on behalf of the supported girls in Kisii and the organization as we enter into another year of working with you in this invaluable project that ensures that 2000 Kenyan girls learn. I would also like to thank you for the contribution that you disbursed to us in November 2013.Our organization was able to organize visits to Kiangoso, Kebobora and Nyangena Primary Schools, after consultative talks with the Headmaster, we were able to identify 20 students in each school who would be trained on sexual maturity and on hygiene and sanitation practices. We also selected specific time schedules in which we would conduct the trainings on a weekly basis for three months.

However, we encountered several challenges when conducting these trainings in the three different schools.Firstly, there was the challenge of low attendance among the student population we selected since not all students were able to make it to the trainings. Secondly, there was the challenge of lack of cooperation from some of the teachers who released students late from their classes for the trainings.Thirdly, supplying the sanitary pads proved a challenge since some of the teachers couldn't hold a number of packets hence leading to some students missing out on them.

Our organization has conducted studies and found out that majority of the girls in Nyamira County do not attend classes regularly due to menstruation and lack of sanitary towels, with your support we were able to purchase and distribute 4 packets per every girl in each of the schools per month.

We were also able to conduct sexual maturity clinics, in which we trained 20 girls in each school on proper hygiene procedures, abstinence and sexually transmitted diseases in order to equip them with better life skills for their future use.

Lastly, our organization was able to schedule trainings on hygiene and sanitation. These trainings would be conducted once a week in each of the selected schools during the Friday afternoons. We were able to train 20 selected students on matters of washing hands and taking care of their surroundings in order to prevent dirt related illnesses.

With your continued support we hope and expect that by the end of this year we will be able to continue to expand to more schools in Nyamira region. On behalf of Vivian, Edna and others we wish you a happy New Year.

Thank you

Aug 26, 2013

Better school clothings for young girls and children

a young school girl receiving new uniform
a young school girl receiving new uniform

Dear partners, we are grateful to report to you the progress of our projects this season. Your support has clothed 51 young girls and children with new presentable school uniforms, gone for these young children are the days of wearing tattered school uniforms to schools. The new uniforms comprises of shirts and shorts for boys and dresses and petticoats for girls. We identified the young children from Kiangoso Primary to be having tattered uniforms which was also contributing towards their low self-esteem in school leading to low education perfomances. Some of the pupils could not attend school due to the lack of proper uniforms. The young girls and children were selected from the lower class ( between age 5 -19 years).

The provision of the presentable new school uniforms to the young pupils was done on 12th July,2013  but before this date, we had identified the young girls and children in dire need of school uniforms, with support from the teachers at the school we were able to  identified 48 young girls and children from Kiangoso primary school who did not have school attire and instead wore home dresses to school, then we tried to identify the cause of these young girls from wearing school uniforms and the results we got was ' financial inability to afford school uniform dress'. With this in mind, and your support backing us,we were able to receive donations from you  and managed to procure and provide uniforms for these young minds in Kiangoso Primary school.

It was a happy day for these young girls and children who came with their parents to witness the provision of uniforms, the whole school was presented during the provision and the children could not hide their joy when they received the pair of new school uniforms. Global giving (GG) has had an impact especially in this particular school for three years now since the project started targeting this school. Many pupils in these schools have benefited from water tanks, sanitation facilities and hygiene trainings all done through GG. So when we arrived for this day to provide the uniforms to the 48 children + 3 new children , all the school pupils were in jovial mood as they are connected already with what GG is doing in their school and to their pupils.

' Asante Global Giving' translated as ' Thank you Global Giving', Mr. Onesmus Gechure, one of the parents who came to witness his daughter receiving the new uniforms.

' Even me i have a new uniform, thank you Global giving', Cecilia Moraa, 8 year old girl in standard 2.

Without you the donors, Health and Water Foundation would not have implemented this project in this school and bring about smiles into these young girls. We encourage you to keep on contributing towards our cause.'Asante sana'

children in their new uniforms with their teachers
children in their new uniforms with their teachers
May 21, 2013

Hygiene attitude Change and increased retentions

Dear Partners,

This year our project has embarked on a different approach of ensuring that their is improved hygiene and   increased retention in primary schools among girls. Hygiene and Education are inter-linked in the development of girls,where one exists without the other, incases where there is Education and their is lack of proper Hygiene standards the girls Education is serverly hampered by high drop outs in schools and low enrolments. Our project has been tackling this issue by using Water and Sanitation as an entry point in schools in order to increase the demand of education among girls in basic education ( primary school).

Five specific primary school were targeted under this new approach in Kisii region,these were; Kiangoso, Kebobora, Bigogo, Nyakongo and Nyaisa. The new idea was welcomed by the 5 schools and through the collaboration of their school management committess we were able to do the following in each of the schools;

a) Formulate and initate 'girls club' concept in the school,where each school had 1 girls clubs with membership of 30 girls.

b) The girls members were trained on hygiene,reproductive health and specifically attitude change towards education.

 c) The girls were also trained on ways of conducting sensitization and self-esteem activities among other girls as well.

d) The girls were trained as trainers (TOT) so as to be able to sensitize out of school girls on importance of education and hygiene.

About 150 girls were trained from these activities.The main purpose of the girls club will be to;

a) Sensitize and build self-esteem of girls.

b) Sensitize the school community on the importance of girls education and hygiene.

This wil involve sensitizing activities aimed at teenaged girls both in and out of the primary schools.We are at the initial stage of the girls club and it is expected that through this approach where the girls themselves sensitize other girls in their school community,more girls out of school will be attracted into the schools and further more on the benefits of proper hygiene standards that the schools offer.

We plan to role out this activity to 7 other primary schools in region,the respective school committees have agreed with the new plan that will ultimetly increase both enrolment and retention while also improving the hygiene conditions of the schools in particulaly related to the girl child. With your contributions together we will see that more girls enroll and remain in school in Kisii region.

Feb 19, 2013

Sanitary pads for Nyangena Girls

a girls showing her packet
a girls showing her packet

Dear Partners,

Hope this finds you well, on November 28th last  year the project managed to support about 113 girls from Nyangena D.O.K Primary school  with  sanitary pads. This is the same school that during that hygiene training had been done to all the pupils on October last year.

Many girls in the upper classes of the primary school, often miss their classes during their periods due to the fact that they cannot afford sanitary pads, and feel ashamed of going to schools. Being a rural school and pupils come from poor households, the provision of sanitary towels is not a priority for the parents and in order to curb the issue, girls have no option but to use the tradition equivalent of sanitary towels which is medically harmfull and does not control the menstrual flow. More than often girls resort not to come to school during the period they are experiencing their menstruals. The government of Kenya acknowledges this to be a problem but has not yet provided a lasting solution to the lack of sanitary pads to girls especially in rural areas.

The project which is aimed at ensuring that girls in Kenya learn has been able to call on donors to support hygiene and sanitation in schools with particular focus to the girl child. Your contributions has over the years enabled us to provide sanitary pads to girls in schools in Kenya. Although this is not having a wider impact nationally but we are glad that the few who have received are able to continue with their education without fear of ridicule from boys,without having to absent classes, and a sense of belonging.

Two days prior of the  visiting of Nyangena Primary school for the delivery of sanitary towels, the Project Assistant informed the  school’s head teacher of the visit and the purpose of and requested for preparation and availability of the adolescent girls. On the material day the cartons containing the sanitary towels were loaded into the project vehicle as per the previous activities done for girls in other schools but with caution to add one more carton so as to cater for any increase in the number of girls. Upon arrival at the school, we held a brief meeting with the  head teacher  and thereafter the we were led by a female teacher to the class were the girls were  assembled. Being a sensitive issue our female collegues took  charge of this activity; take the girls through a brief guidance and counselling session and demonstration on the good use of the sanitary towels and  provision of  sanitary towels. A total of 113 girls received the sanitary pads and trained on the use, these were all the girls from Standar 4 to Standard 8 ( all adolescents).For hygiene purposes, the girls were advised to use at least 1-3 sanitary pads (depending on flow) per day at the beginning of their monthly period. Each girl was given on package of 8 sanitary pads meaning they will last for 3-5 days.

The teachers at the school attributed to 90% of girls absenteeism to lack of sanitary pads, girls interviewed also acknowledged that they do miss classes during their menstural cycle and were very grateful for the sanitary towels.

" We can't take the ridicules especially from boys when we are in menstrual cycle, they always know when they see blood on our skirts and we cant prevent it because we do not have sanitary towels. After this me and my friends will always come to school and learn as boys do without any fear" Esther Bosire - 14 years old pupils.

After the provision of the sanitary pads the headteacher called for a whole school meeting where all the pupils were in attendance, the boys especially were warned on ridiculing girls and other immoral behaivors towards girls during their menstrual cycle, toward the effect of the warning boys were told that displinary action would be taken including suspensions and explusions from school if found to ridicule and mock girls. We also talked to the pupils on the importance of treating one another equally and learing peacefully. The activity was very successfully conducted. In one instance old girls ( previous pupils from the school) from the community came dressed in school uniforms to receive the sanitary pads, luckily the extra box of sanitary pads catered for them.

girls learning on using the pads
girls learning on using the pads
a girl receiving the pads
a girl receiving the pads

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Project Leader

Allan Mwembe

Nairobi, Kenya

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