Optiven Foundation increased it’s momentum ahead of today’s observation of World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021. The team reached out to girls and youth in the informal settlements with the donations of sanitary pads as part of activities to mark the World Menstrual Day.
This year’s theme is ‘Action and Investment in Menstrual Hygiene and Health.’ The objective behind celebration of Menstrual day is to create awareness among every individual regarding the challenges and hardships girls and women face during menstruation.
The Optiven Foundation initiative is part of it’s efforts to reach youth in particular those from vulnerable backgrounds with assistance. The action point is under the health and poverty alleviation pillars which guide the foundation activities.
Ann Nyaga of the Optiven Foundation says, “we recognize that girls are vulnerable especially around the time of their periods and a majority of their guardians or parents are not able to afford sanitary pads’. As a result this affects the girls well being, morale and confidence, in some cases contributing to the youth not attending school.
Nyaga adds that, “as a Foundation we have had a number of cases where the youth are not educated on the menstruation cycle and when left to second guess, they find themselves with wrong information“. Her sentiments were echoed by Mary Kariuki, a Trustee of the Optiven Foundation who noted that the Menstrual health of girls is of key importance in the society.
She adds that, “youth need not be ashamed of the menstruation cycle but civic education must continue for confidence and communication on menstruation to be effective“. Mrs Kariuki noted that the Optiven Foundation has been involved in advocacy and education on Menstrual health while at the same time working with partners to donate pads to youth in Ngatataek, Kieni and Loitoktok among other grassroot towns.
Kariuki adds, “we are grateful to our current partners and open to more to enable us reach our girls with sanitary pads. We are cognizant of the fact that while we engage our pillars we are also impacting the youth through education.“
Why a World Menstrual Hygiene Day?
The global observation is aimed at creating awareness among people regarding the challenges and hardships girls and women face during menstruation. There has been conversation around environment hazards as a result of use of non-degradable sanitary pads. The GoGreen Initiative by Optiven has been researching on this and reports that efforts are ongoing to innovate environment friendly pads.
This May for example, Procter & Gamble, the maker of Always, launched organic sanitary pads in the Kenyan market. These products target consumers who are increasingly conscious of the make-up of feminine care products they use during menstruation.
This is the result of heightened scrutiny of raw materials used to make sanitary pads and tampons, forcing manufacturers to expand their offerings to include new alternatives or organic brands. GoGreenNaOptiven found that the new Always Cotton for example is 100 percent organic, unscented and dye-free. GoGreenNaOptiven also found that education campaigns surrounding menstrual hygiene have increased in Kenya, boosting the growth of sanitary products.
The launch of more sanitary products comes amid growing concerns that girls miss school due to menstruation, and that most of the towels do not fully cater for the needs of young girls with heavy flows. In 2017, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the Basic Education Amendment Act into law placing the responsibility of providing free, sufficient and quality sanitary towels on the government
Years after the law came into effect, not all school girls receive sanitary towels despite the government allocating millions to support the programme. Thus the need for partnership on such initiatives including donations such as these by the Optiven Foundation.
To partner with the Optiven Foundation,
- Call us: +254 718 776033
- Email: info.optivenfoundation.org