Former Citizen TV Janet Mbugua started the Inua Dada Sanitary Towel distribution in schools in 2013. This was after a feature titled “Period of Shame” highlighted the plight of primary school girls in Labos Primary School, Marigat District, Baringo County, Kenya who have no access to sanitary towels and result to using rags and chicken feathers during their monthly period.
But it seems, there are still a lot of girls who have no access to sanitary towels and resort to ‘selling’ themselves to get money to buy the necessities.
The mere thought of indulging in sexual intercourse in exchange for sanitary towels may sound absurd — or extortionist — but surprisingly, this is the shocking predicament of Busia girls. Young girls in Busia county have turned to selling their bodies for as little as Sh100 to buy sanitary towels, a local daily reported on Monday. As a result, the county has recorded the highest number of teenage pregnancies, with over 9,000 girls dropping out of school in 2016.
This calls for action that goes beyond negative public scrutiny and labeling. Therefore, we should gear our efforts towards identifying the root cause of this, which I believe has much to do with parents’ negligence and poverty. The Children’s Act of 2001 emphasizes the establishment of home-school partnerships, in addition to recognizing the fact that every child has a right to education. It clearly stipulates that both the government I and the parents should execute this responsibility.
The fact that these girls are stooping this low — to the extent of getting laid — for only Sh100 and in some cases Sh50 to buy pads — clearly shows the recommendations of this Act are yet to be effected. Parents have an obligation of warning their daughters about wayward men’s lures to avoid the shame of promiscuity, school dropouts and above all, safeguard their children’s well-being. A permanent solution to this problem ought to be put in place, lest education comes to lack meaning in this region. The fact that acquisition of knowledge and skills translates to a permanent change in behaviour should enlighten them on dangers of indulging in premarital sex. However, girls’ school absenteeism should be prevented by all means. This is because three to four days of school lost is equivalent to 39 days of absence in a year.
Credits: Janet Nzisa