First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has urged leaders to champion the entrenchment of the rights and dignity of the adolescent girls by ensuring they access basic services including sanitary products.
Speaking when she launched the Menstrual Health Management Programme in Nairobi yesterday, the First Lady said ignoring menstrual hygiene needs is a violation of girls’ rights.
The Menstrual Management programme is an initiative spearheaded by the County First Ladies Association with support from the Red Cross Society, the African Cotton Industries and Children Investment Fund Foundation.
The programme focuses on menstrual hygiene, adolescent sexual and reproductive health education, nutrition education, mentorship, life skills development and policy influence.
It also aims at complementing government intervention by implementing strategies that work to improve access to sanitation facilities, improve hygiene, adolescent sexual health awareness and address girls’ absence from school by incorporating a mentorship psycho-education and life component.
“We must remain committed to preserving the rights and dignity of our adolescent girls because ignoring their menstrual hygiene needs is a violation of their rights,” said the First Lady.
She said leaders need to find practical, holistic, cost effective solutions that would ensure even the least fortunate have access to clean and safe sanitary solutions.
“We need to find holistic solutions where girls and women have access to water supply, sanitation and good hygiene,” she added. Education Cabinet secretary Amina Mohammed said three million girls aged between 11 and 15 are in dire need of sanitary towels.
She said during the past four financial years, the government through the Education ministry allocated Sh400 million per year to support one million girls in high risky and poverty-stricken areas with sanitary towels for a period of nine months annually.
The chairperson of the County First Ladies Association, Nazi Kivutha said the programme, which will be rolled out in all 47 counties, would run for the next three years. She said the programme, which would also reach out to boys would entail construction of toilets in schools to create a conducive learning environment for children.
Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso said all county governments would support the programme by donating Sh500,000 each towards the project through the Council of Governors (CoG).
Kenya Red Cross Society secretary general Abbas Gullet called on all Kenyans to support noble initiatives such as the newly launched programme by giving practical solutions to challenges facing children.
Also in attendance were Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana, his West Pokot counterpart John Lonyangapuo and 38 spouses of governors among others.