The student-led Strath Kenya Project is supporting two Sanitary Education Programmes in the country. One in the Mashimoni area of the Kibera Slum, Africa’s largest slum, and another project in Kivuli Kijijini in Kalifi.
Abigael Kelvin, Youth Support Worker in Kibera said that its thanks to support from Scotland that over 75 disadvantaged young women are being trained in menstrual health and hygiene.
Abigael said, “We offer mentoring to break the myths behind the menstrual period. In addition to allowing the girls to remain in school throughout the year, the main objective for the distribution of sanitary towels is the reduction in teenage pregnancies and new infection of HIV. This is because without funding, girls become involved in 'sex for pads' and gender-based violence that comes along with this.”
Christine Kangahi, project worker at the Kenya Project’s newest location Kivuli Kijijini in Kalifi, Kenya said, “Working with girls has been a touching experience. Most teenage girls have to miss school during their menstrual period because they live in extreme poverty and their families cannot afford to provide sanitary towels for them.
“Many girls also have to engage in early sexual activities in exchange for money so that they can acquire sanitary towels and other essential needs, hence early pregnancies and school dropouts. This leads to poverty circles, overdependence on men, which can lead to abuse, domestic violence, child labour, prostitution, drug abuse and all manner of moral decay.
“Kilifi is also one of the places in Kenya where the culture has a lot of taboos and misconceptions about menstruation, some girls can't face the world during their period circle because they are regarded as unclean, they can't even associate with boys in their families properly. With fantastic support from Strathallan School, we are trying to break those taboos, educating and empowering the girls to overcome the misconceptions.”
David Barnes, Deputy Head of Pastoral at Strathallan School, who has been involved with the Strath Kenya Project since it began 12 years ago, said, “It is not about charity but empowerment, it’s about providing the possibility of a pathway for our Kenyan friends to journey towards their aspirations and dreams. We are privileged to be able to support these inspirational young women to become equal members of their communities.”
Those interested in supporting the Strath Kenya Project can donate and find out more: