NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 7 – The education ministry on Thursday announced plans to roll out the distribution of sanitary towels directly to the homes of school going girls as schools remain closed for the remainder of the year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang directed Directors of Education at the Sub-County level to work with Headteachers to continue issuing the sanitary towels which have been lying uncollected in schools.
“The purpose of this letter is to authorize all Sub-County Directors and Head teachers to continue issuing sanitary towels to deserving girls even while at home.”
“The distribution should be done efficiently to ensure that the intended girls benefit from this programme and proper records are maintained as adherence to Ministry of Health protocols on COVID 19 is observed,” Kipsang said in a letter submitted before the National Assembly Committee on Education.
Kipsang confirmed that the sanitary towels were still in schools and some at the sub-county education office stores.
“Access to sanitary towels remains a critical challenge for many young girls in Kenya and especially during this hard time of COVID-19 pandemic. It is deemed necessary to issue the sanitary towels to the girls even as they await for schools to re-open,” he stated.
Education CS George Magoha had earlier told the National Assembly Committee that the Ministry had taken measures to address concerns that school girls do not receive free sanitary towels despite the government allocating Sh470 million to improve access to education to many girls who could not afford sanitary products like pads and tampons.
“It is true that a majority of the students received their sanitary towels, but it is also true that some of the children have not yet received their sanitary towels. I have already instructed the PS to get into the system very quickly to empower the people who are holding the sanitary pads inside the system. This is where you MPs can be useful to ensure that the sanitary towels get to the children that were supposed to get them and not to any other person,” he stated.
“The danger lies in since Kenyans are not always saying the truth, you may find that the sanitary towels go to another person and yet the child that requires it does not get it,” the Education CS added.
Data from the Ministry of Gender show that 3.7 million girls collectively received 14.8 million packets of sanitary towels costing Sh420.6 million last year.
The programme came into force in June 2017 when President Uhuru Kenyatta signed to law a Bill to amend the Basic Education Act.
The amendment mandated the government to provide free, sanitary towels to every girl registered and enrolled in a public basic education institution and has reached puberty.