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Kenyan schoolgirls supported with four million budget

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Summary of story from IPS, ailment July 25, remedy 2011

For the first time ever, the Kenyan finance minister has allocated almost four million dollars from the current national budget to provide free sanitary pads to schoolgirls.

This comes after persistent pressure from women parliamentarians who took the issue of girls’ absenteeism from school, due to lack of sanitary pads, to parliament.

It was a campaign that left their male counterparts speechless, for such matters are rarely spoken about in public, let alone in parliament, in Kenya’s conservative society.

Known as gender responsive budgeting, it is a reflection of gender sensitive planning and practical solutions towards ensuring that gender inequalities in all facets of society are addressed.

In their persistent lobbying, the women parliamentarians brought to the fore a problem that could have continued to hinder the education of young girls.

Thirteen-year-old Dorothy Akinyi, a standard seven pupil from Kibera, which is arguably the largest slum in Africa, stays at home every time she menstruates.

“Without sanitary pads life at school is difficult. We are subjected to very embarrassing and humiliating incidences, especially from the boys.

“Tying a pullover around your waist to hide the soiled patch behind your uniform in case the tissue leaks is a dead giveaway. We choose to stay at home,” she explains.

But the situation is bound to change for Akinyi and other girls like her. But only if the money allocated for the sanitary wear is spent efficiently.

Experts also identified corruption as one of the obstacles to funds being spent properly, calling for auditing procedures and financial accountability structures.

Today, in Kigali, Rwanda, a high-level delegation from around the world are meeting to discuss best practices in gender responsive budgeting.

  1. D Brown says:

    FABULOUS!!! Those female parliamentarians are to be applauded – way to go!!!

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