When The Rahul Kotak Foundation team began visiting schools in rural Kenya, they noticed a strange pattern. As the grades progressed, there were fewer and fewer girls in class. They wanted to find out why.
The RKF team went straight to the source—the teachers and students—to find out what was causing this gender gap. “On talking to teachers and students and investigating further, we learned that the biggest reason for this skewed ratio was girls dropping out of school because they didn’t have access to sanitary pads or any other type of sanitary hygiene products when they were menstruating,” the RKF team shared. The girls in the community felt unprepared and embarrassed to discuss menstruation.
With a greater understanding of the low attendance of girls in upper grades, the RKF team set out to test a pilot program. They gave 29 girls re-usable sanitary pad kits and facilitated a counseling session to address any questions or concerns. The team put measures in place so they could analyze the potential success of the program.
“To ensure we could learn as much as possible from this pilot program, we asked local volunteers to carry out periodic surveys to monitor and evaluate the progress of this program,” shared the RKF team. The experimental design of their pilot program garnered exciting results. They found an increase in class attendance by those who received the sanitary pad kits.
The RKF team continues to improve their programs by seeking out feedback. The team asked for feedback from the girls in the pilot program to get a better understanding of what about the program worked well for them and what should be changed. This feedback will help the RKF scale and continue testing their programs until the gender gap is successfully closed. They told GlobalGiving:
“The results of this pilot program will allow us to fine tune the program before we can scale it to another 200 girls in rural areas before the end of 2018.”
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