• Girls agree to have sex in return for sanitary towels.
• The problem worsened when Covid-19 struck, leading to the long closure of schools.
The Girl Child Outreach project run by Kalonzo Musyoka Foundation is advocating a mandatory free supply of sanitary pads to keep girls away from sex.
Coordinator Miriam Syengo said on Sunday the group had been disturbed by its finding that lack of sanitary towels drives girls into having sex, which results in teen pregnancies.
Syengo, in a statement, said cases of young girls engaging in sex to get money to buy sanitary pads are commonplace.
“The main problem we discovered was that due to lack of sanitary towels, girls are forced to give sex in exchange for sanitary towels. This is heartbreaking being in the 21st century. We should have free sanitary towels given to all girls,” she said.
She said the Girl Child Outreach project was established last October as the number of pregnant girls surged. The situation was aggravated by Covid-19-induced shutting of schools.
She pointed out that they will reach out to and educate teenage girls on sex and menstrual hygiene, and empower and support young teenage mothers. The group also distributed free sanitary pads.
"As KMF, we decided to talk to the girls through the Gild Child Outreach wing and establish the challenges they are faced with. We have tried to put them back to school and assisted them in our own little way,” she said.
Last Saturday, they visited Al Mansoor Rescue Centre in Kilifi. Syengo said they had also met and assisted girls and teenage mothers in Nairobi’s Kibera, Kamulu and Embakasi areas and others in West Pokot and Kajiado.
She said they have so far supported at least 700 teenage mothers in different counties. “We have so far managed to get 276 of them back in school, with 135 resuming classes in high schools.”
She, however, lamented that most teen mothers are reluctant to go back to school for fear that they would be derided and become the laughing stock of fellow learners.
“Some feel embarrassed their schoolmates would deride them for giving birth and they find that too much to bear. Others end up escaping and even lose their children when forced to be in school,” she said, assuring, however, that they are committed to ensuring all of them resume learning.