Where we work in Kenya, girls are missing school one week out of every four due to a lack of education, poor toilet facilities and stigma surrounding their periods.
The shame surrounding these girls due to something as natural as menstruation is not acceptable, so we're working with schools and communities to give girls much needed #PeriodPride.
We have been working in these communities delivering Menstrual Hygiene Management training and building taps and toilets for over 10 years, and have built a bespoke curriculum which ensures cultural sensitivity and is delivered by our local ground staff and teachers.
We want to train a generation in Bomet County so that they can stay in school, get an education and earn more in the future to lift their families out of poverty.
We do this in four key ways.
We teach girls that periods are a natural part of becoming a woman through educating them about their bodies and how they can manage and prepare for their period.
We also provide girls with a safe space to discuss common misconceptions, create girls clubs in schools where they can get products from their teachers and support from their friends, and create tools they can use to predict their monthly cycle. All of this gives girls #PeriodPride and teaches them to be confident in their bodies.
Typically girls miss out on one week of school every month due to their period.
This is due to the shame associated with menstruation, but in a large part is also due to a lack of a safe, clean and private place to manage their periods and go to the toilet.
This is why we build female friendly latrines in schools, giving girls a safe place to change their menstrual products so that they don’t have to stay at home during their period and miss school.
Menstruation is not a woman's problem which is why men must be involved in the conversation too. Our syllabus is designed to involve boys and men in some of the sessions so that they too learn about puberty and menstruation, and the changes that young people go through. .
Teaching some classes with both boys and girls normalises the biology and allows us to break down taboos that surround menstruation.
Changing the way periods are perceived by all is vital to the success of the programme.
We work closely with local government to ensure our training is appropriate and effective. Our bespoke syllabus, which has been formally endorsed by Bomet County Government, has been developed with the assistance of expert international researchers and is delivered by our local Kenyan staff.
We monitor our impact continuously with national and county governments to reinforce prioritising menstrual hygiene management and influence policy for a brighter future for girls in Kenya.