Did you know that many girls in rural Kenya have very limited access to sanitary pads and menstrual hygiene products? When our staff was looking into the root causes of the 2020 spike in unplanned teen pregnancies, we learned that some girls were exchanging sex for sanitary pads. Really? In 2023?
In 2017, Kenya Connect launched the Wings Poa Reusable Sanitary Pad Kits Program that are made by local women. We began this initiative because the Head Teachers were telling us that girls were missing 3-5 days of school per month because they had nothing to use when they had their periods. As a result, we began looking at various reusable sanitary pad programs. Some other NGO groups were willing to share information, but many said, “no, we don’t want you to take our ideas.” As a result, our staff created the Wings Poa kits (cool wings). Since that time, over 3,000 FREE kits have been distributed to primary and secondary school girls with workshops on menstrual health and hygiene. Our locally led staff creates a safe space for girls to ask questions and to train them on how to use the kits. Pre-and post surveys are administered so we can garner information on how the kits are being used and if they are allowing girls to not only stay in school, but have a hygienic way to manage their periods.
Thanks to students at the Garrison Forest School and Pilates Instructor Lindsey Burns, we have collected over 3,000 pairs of panties in 2023 to include in the kits.
This initiative, combined with our Girl/Boy Empowerment and Parent Program, is a multi-pronged approach to help decrease unplanned teen pregnancy and gender-based violence and to empower girls to take control of their bodies. It is also a wonderful way for LOCAL WOMEN to earn income by making the kits.
To learn more about our Girl Empowerment Programs we invite you to watch this short video:The Girl Boy Empowerment Program