World Menstrual Hygiene Day: Kenyan women call for an end to period poverty

"We're sending 28 messages urging Parliament to address scarcity of sanitary pads."

In Summary
  • According to United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), menstrual health is a human rights issue and not just a health one.
  • "The want period poverty to be forced out of their lives and using the opportunity of this day to make their message strong, loud, firm in order for the National Assembly to hear the challenges they face in accessing sanitary products," the Co-Founder said.
28 women protesting in Kajiado as they call for an end to period poverty during the World Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28, 2024.
28 women protesting in Kajiado as they call for an end to period poverty during the World Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28, 2024.
Image: NANCY AGUTU

This year's theme for Menstrual Hygiene Day is 'Together for a #PeriodFriendlyWorld,' 28 women in Kajiado organised an action on ending period poverty.

The action has seen the 28 new women Change Leaders pledging to proactively address the grave issues faced by Kenyan women.

The Co-Founder of Nguvu Collective Durga Nandini said they are sending 28 messages urging the government to take urgent measures.

"They are sending 28 messages urging the Parliament to take urgent measures to address the scarcity of sanitary pads, make financial allocations to have more resources on menstrual products and also to prioritize the draft Bill on provision for sanitary products introduced by Senator Gloria Orwoba," Nandini said.

Co Founder Nguvu Collective Durga Nandini as the world marked Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28, 2024.
Co Founder Nguvu Collective Durga Nandini as the world marked Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28, 2024.
Image: NANCY AGUTU

She said all the women have come to the reality of having different menstrual struggles.

This she said they might have experienced either with their families or communities.

"They want period poverty to be forced out of their lives and using the opportunity of this day to make their message strong, loud, firm for the National Assembly to hear the challenges they face in accessing sanitary products," the Co-Founder said.

She noted that the move was just the beginning as some of their leaders already launched digital campaigns.

Nandini said the leaders were also running a movement that is gradually building towards ending period poverty.

"We met Senator (Gloria) Orwoba recently to express solidarity to her Bill and to the larger efforts in centring the conversation around menstrual hygiene in the country," she added.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), menstrual health is a human rights issue and not just a health one.

They said the ability to care for one’s body while menstruating is an essential part of this fundamental freedom.

Despite that, they noted that hundreds of millions of people lack access to menstrual products and adequate facilities for menstrual health.

"Poor menstrual health and hygiene undercut fundamental rights for women and girls, worsening social and economic inequalities. Insufficient resources to manage menstruation, as well as patterns of exclusion and shame, undermine human dignity," UNFPA said.

The organisation said global and national health and development policies should prioritise menstrual health. This, they said should be through investment reflecting the important role it plays in human rights, public health, gender equality and sustainable development.

"Schools, workplaces and public institutions should ensure that people can manage menstruation with comfort and dignity. Targeted policies should seek to eliminate period poverty, in which low-income women and girls struggle to afford menstrual products and have limited access to water and sanitation services," the organisation said.

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star