Launch Of The Menstrual Hygiene Management Programme
A partnership between the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS), the County First Ladies Association (CFLA) and African Cotton Industries was officiated through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, which guided the implementation of the Menstrual Management programme that targets one million girls and one million boys. The signing ceremony took place on 17th April 2018.
The programme goal is to empower the girl child and enhance their quality of life and future opportunities. It specifically seeks to: Increase understanding and awareness of Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM), adolescent reproductive health and nutrition of the target group; Increase the self-esteem/self-worth and mental health of the adolescent girls and boys; Provide a conducive policy and social environment for menstrual management; and Improve MHM infrastructure and facilities in schools.
The overall focus is on; menstrual hygiene management, adolescent sexual and reproductive health education, nutrition education, mentorship and life skills development and policy influence.
Speaking during the event, Dr. Abbas Gullet, the KRCS Secretary General said that the program was a great initiative and as an implementing partner, KRCS would work towards delivering on its part.
“It is only a couple of months ago when the County First Ladies’ Chair H.E Nazi Kivutha came here for a courtesy visit and she talked about her passion for this subject. Little did we know we would be here in less than two months signing this agreement. This shows commitment from the County First Ladies Association. I am sure this will open up many doors with other partners who will come on board to support the initiative, which is noble and timely,” said Dr. Abbas Gullet, Secretary General, KRCS.
Targeting to reach one million boys and girls respectively, the programme aims to complement the government intervention by implementing interventions that can work to improve access to sanitation facilities, improve hygiene and adolescent sexual health awareness, and address girls’ absence from school while incorporating a mentorship and life skills component.
“We as the County First Ladies want this project to succeed and we are very grateful that Kenya Red Cross is partnering with us in its implementation. County First Ladies shall work closely with the Governors to ensure that this program is a big success” H.E Nazi Kivutha, Chairperson, County First Ladies' Association said.
The provision of MHM services and commodities, education and mentorship coupled with advocacy and community education on the existing barriers around MHM will help in enhancing the general well-being of adolescent girls across the 47 counties.
This is to be achieved through reduced absenteeism and increase retention of girls in school in 47 Counties; Increased uptake of MHM, adolescent sexual and reproductive health services; Adolescent girls and boys gains confidence, skills and efficacy, and social connectedness; Policy adoption and reviews to include menstruation management; and Improved health indicators due to access to safe water and sanitation facilities.
“We are happy to be here and privileged to partner with the Kenya Red Cross and the County First Ladies. For many years we have been the only local cotton manufacturers for pads. We pioneered the Ministry of Education in distributing pads across the country. Therefore, we can assure you that we have the capacity and commitment to achieve this initiative, and look forward to working with you,” said Mureithi Regeru, Director, African Cotton Industries.
African cotton industry (ACI) will strengthen local enterprises, therefore, raising the income levels of women and girls by establishing women groups to source the sanitary pads at a fair wholesale price for retail markets. In hard to reach areas and where ACI does not have distributors, appropriate technology to support local production will be explored and made accessible with the capacity to establish production and distribution strengthened.
First Ladies as champions will mentor the girls and boys being reached as well as advocate for linkages between the county and national MHeM initiatives while KRCS will ensure that local involvement, solutions and mechanisms are strengthened through building the capacity of stakeholders, robust M&E mechanisms, impact documentation and the innovative use of technology.