In the Rotary Year 2011/12, The Rotaract Club of Nairobi Central (RCNC) started the ‘A Girl A K A Year’ Sanitary Towels Project’ with the aim to provide hygienic sanitary towels and under garments to underprivileged girls within different education institutions across Kenya. The main objective was to: promote education and literacy; disease prevention and treatment and water and sanitation – three key areas of focus within Rotary International. The club identified that underprivileged girls who could not get access to hygienic sanitary towels during their menses would stay at home for up to five days a month, use unhygienic and risky means of holding their menses with some going to the extent of paying for sanitary towels with sex. All these were seen as having a negative impact on the academic progress of these girls who had to compete with boys and other girls that did not face the same challenges around the country.
Since its inception to date, 3125 girls in selected institutions across Kenya and more recently in Uganda and Tanzania have received a one year’s supply of hygienic sanitary towels, four pairs of underwear and a health education booklet. Mentorship is offered on topics such as personal hygiene, education, career choices, drug and substance abuse and relationships. The girls are mainly from: informal settlements (slums), abandoned and living in children homes / orphanages, underprivileged families and those that are physically or mentally challenged. The beneficiaries also receive mentorship on career, personal hygiene, drug and substance abuse and relationships.
Number of girls reached: 3,125 underprivileged girls across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have been provided with a year’s supply of hygienic sanitary towels, undergarments, health education booklets since the project’s inception. They also received mentorship on various topics including personal hygiene, education, careers choices, relationships and drugs and substance abuse. Boys are not left out during the mentorship sessions.
Funds raised: Over KShs 1.5 million has been raised towards the project through contributions received from RCNC membership and alumni, Rotary/Rotaract/Interact clubs, corporates, individuals among other well-wishers. Many others have provided in-kind support in the form of sanitary towels, transport and time during distribution and mentorship sessions.
P&G’s Matching Grant: In the Rotary Year 2013/14, the club managed to raise KShs. 425,000 (USD 5000) for the project and received a major boost from Procter and Gamble (P&G) through a matching grant. P&G also provided their hamper containing Always (sanitary towels) brand and two bathing soaps.
Corporate Partnerships: Sanitary pads for textbooks exchange with Jomo Kenyatta Foundation (JKF). In this partnership, JKF scholars (girls) receive sanitary towels and in return schools identified by RCNC get textbooks. Schools that have benefited from this initiative are: Misori Primary School, Hot Springs Girls High School, Brydges Children’s Center, Altawoon Education Center and Ukia Mixed Secondary School. Other organizations and individuals including Insect Committee of Nature Kenya and AFEW-Giraffe Centre have also donated posters, magazines mainly on conservation of the environment. Martha N.Mutiso has also generously donated copies of her publication, ‘The Vultures of Africa, A Coloring Book’.
Awards: The Project has twice been feted twice, most recently as the Rotaract Outstanding Project Award – 2014 Sub Saharan Africa Districts Winner by the Rotary International and as the Best Community Service Project during the D9200 (now split into Districts 9211 and 9212) Rotary Youth Leadership Awards in the Rotary Year 2011/12.
For more information and/or to support please get in touch with the Community Service Director, Charles Muthui via e-mail on: firstname.lastname@example.orgemail@example.com or phone: +254 721 476287