Many girls in the Tana Delta are unable to attend school for a week every month due to the lack of sanitary napkins. This significantly affects their learning. Some girls make their own from cotton wool or pieces of scrap cloth, risking infections.
Reusable sanitary napkins have been available in Africa in the recent years. Unlike the disposable ones we are used to, these are washable and a set would last a girl for an entire year. This is a more economical and sustainable option, and supports African organizations producing them. In addition to manufacturing them, these organization provide valuable education in feminine health issues.
TRLF has started a trial with Afri-Can Trust, an Kenyan based NGO which produces reusable sanitary napkins to provide girls in these communities with access to these napkins. Afri-Can Trust has trained female staff members and youths from the TRLF to run the program. The trial will last 3 months and was launched in January 2015 at Buyani Secondary School in the Chara sub-location. A 2 hour education and information session on menstrual health was run by staff from Afri-Can Trust for both male and female students there. Myths about menstruation were dispelled. Girls received a set of I-Care pads as well as 2 panties. They were taught on the use and management of the pad to ensure that it lasts for a whole year. Representatives from TRLF were also present to ensure continuity of the program in this school as well as others in the region. A survey would be conducted at the end of the trial period to better understand the benefits as well as issues with the napkins.
With these napkins, we hope to enable to girls to attend school uninterrupted and help them to complete their secondary education.
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