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Free Sanitary Pads Distributed to Kenyan Schoolgirls

In Kenya, the Finance Minister has apportioned around 4 million dollars to the Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) to distribute free sanitary pads to Kenyan school girls. This cost represents about 3.6 percent of Kenya’s primary education budget. The distribution of free sanitary pads to schoolgirls aims to reduce girls’ absenteeism from school since some girls stay home during menstruation.

Dr. Wilfred Subbo, a university lecturer on Gender and Development in Nairobi, describes the need for gender-responsive budgeting, “poverty is gendered. Men and women experience poverty in very different ways. Research has shown that there are more women living in poverty than men because more women are illiterate, thus limiting their chances of exploiting employment opportunities that can afford them [a] decent living.”

Nevertheless, the 4 million dollars allocated is not sufficient to distribute sanitary pads to every Kenyan school girl, and the WEF has indicated a need for partnerships with the private sector in order to achieve greater access to sanitary pads for Kenyan girls.

Sources:

The Guardian 7/29/11; IPS 7/25/2011

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