|A warm welcome from Gs Gikaya students!|
When Nadia, Tash, and I arrived, we were welcomed by kids running towards you to receive you with a hug and sweet songs.
SHE will be providing Menstrual Health Management training at each of our ten pilot schools, but before we begin training, we needed to revisit the school campus so we can tailor our curriculum based on the school's sanitation facilities.
Gs Giyaka is equipped with a girls' room that contains basic materials that a girl should use when she get her menses at school and is unprepared. Because this school is led by a woman, the issues of menstruation seem better well addressed than at other schools. The school teachers discuss the topic after class and instruct younger girls how to manage their menstruation, but challenges to fully support girls' menstrual needs still exist.
|SHE's Nadia with Gs Gikaya's headmistress in the school's girl's room|
The headmistress reported that even though they have pads in stock to give to a girl who is unprepared when her period arrives, many of girls still don’t have means to purchase a pack of pads by themselves. Therefore, they sometimes try to game the system by having their friends ask for pads on their behalf so they can have enough products. Painkillers are also not available at school, so sometimes the headmistress allow girls to return home if they have too much pain.
Supporting girls' menstrual needs at school will not be solved simply by providing access to more pads. That's why SHE is instigating at the national level to ensure that budgets and resources are increased at the school level, so girls will be provided increased access to education, menstrual products, and services.
I wonder whether schools led by women care more about menstruation issues or if it's just this school that makes an effort to support its girls and boys equally to help them stay in school. In any regard, we can't wait to learn more from the girls of Gs Gikaya!
- Gerardine, Marketing and Research Officer