In a show of kindness, spouses of British Army soldiers in Laikipia county,Kenya have joined hands with a community based organisation (Sang’ida Foundation) to train pastoralist women on menstrual hygiene.
Apparently, BATUK has been engaging in various acts of corporate social responsibility across Laikipia county. All these noble activities are geared towards the betterment of locals’ livelihoods in areas that the British Soldiers train in.
This program will be carried out by Sang’ida Foundation with the help of British Army soldiers’ spouses living in Laikipia county. As part of the program,women from Laikipia North Sub-county will be trained on how to make reusable sanitary towels. These Superior feminine hygiene sanitary towels can be utilized for a year.
Reusable sanitary towels are a sustainable and easily renewable resource that allows girls to wash and reuse them instead of buying disposable pads every month.Reusable sanitary towels meet the needs of young girls and women who may not afford disposable sanitary towels.
During the launch of the campaign at Dol Dol Catholic Mission, Sang’ida Foundation Director Jacinta Silakan said sanitary pads are not accessible to majority of the poor rural women.
Many of the women and girls have been using old pieces of blankets or mattresses exposing them to infections. Others remain indoors during their menstrual cycle thereby rendering them unproductive for several daysJacinta Silakan, Sang’ida Foundation Director
With no pit latrines and where community relieves themselves in the bushes, there is also the challenge of disposal of the common sanitary pads for the few who can afford them.
A representative of the British family under British Army Training Unit (BATUK) Dr Katherine Topham said they target to train 500 women on how to make the towels which they can also sell to others thereby empowering them economically.
Charity Makaza, a member of the British family who was among 40 women during the launch of the program said they were touched by the plight of the pastoralists women and decided to chip in and offer support.
As a pastoralist, I’m aware of the challenges that face women and girls living in rural areas where discussing menstrual matters openly is still regarded as a taboo.Jane Meriwas, the Director of Samburu Women Trust
Meriwas noted that there is need for extensive civic education on reproductive health among women in the region so that they can understand their anatomy.
“Most of the women do not even know how to use sanitary towels judging from the point that they even do not have panties something that needs to be addressed by those willing to donate the items,” She said
During the launch, more than 200 women were issued with free reusable sanitary towels and pants
One of the beneficiaries Resina Kantayo said she has a 16-year-old autistic daughter who cannot tolerate ordinary pads and she has been soiling herself in those days of the month.
Kantayo said reusable towels would come in handy for parents with girls living with disabilities since it was affordable and convenient to use.
She called on anyone willing to donate the pads to go with the reusable ones since they have found them easy to use and maintain.
In addition, the project aims to help keep girls in school and reduce pregnancies due to early sex in exchange for cash to buy basic items such as sanitary towels. Sanitary protection will help bridge disparities between adolescent girls and boys both in primary and secondary education in the most remote areas of Laikipia County,where most locals live in abject poverty.