This project will provide 230 girls in Wamunyu with reusable sanitary pad kits.
Kenya Connect works with 50 primary and 12 secondary schools in the rural Mwala sub-county of Machakos to get students into schools and enrich the quality of the education they receive. They will oversee the kits' manufacture and distribution and provide menstrual education to the girls and the wider community.
When girls lack period products, they miss 3-5 days of school per month. This means up to 65 days per year or nearly 20% of the school year lost to lack of access to period products.
Other issues they have noted include girls trading sex for period products (risking pregnancy and STIs), lack of suitable means to dispose of synthetic pads resulting in environmentally unfriendly options such as burning, burial or disposal in pit latrines, and a lack of robust menstrual education to empower girls to understand their bodies and their rights.
We will fund the provision of 230 Wings Poa reusable sanitary pad kits to 230 girls across 10 of Kenya Connect's partner schools over 8 weeks. Kenya Connect will commission local women to create the kits using sewing machines that Kenya Connect provided to them in 2018 to kick-start sustainable sewing businesses.
Each girl will receive a kit that contains two Wings Poa shields, ten flannel liners, two pairs of panties, a drawstring bag to carry the materials, and instructions in Kiswahili and English on how to use and care for the kit. Kenya Connect estimates that these kits will last the girls for a year, on average.
Three Kenya Connect team members - Margaret Mutune, Ether Muinde and Monicah Kyalo - will also deliver menstrual health education to girls, boys, and parents within the community to get their buy-in for the Wings Poa program and help them to become better advocates for their girls. The hope is to empower the entire community to provide a safe and supportive environment for growing girls.
Since Kenya Connect started providing Wings Poa kits two years ago, girls no longer miss school when they are on their periods. Girls and their communities also have a better understanding of menstruation, which has been slowly breaking down the stigma around menstruation.
This project is an investment into these girls' future success while also supporting the locally-owned supply chain that manufactures the kits.
Kenya Connect will conduct follow-up surveys with the girls to gather feedback on the product, improve their program, and ensure continued success.