Full roll out of Young Women's Program

In term 1 2019 the Young Women’s program was rolled out in all 26 GSP schools in Kenya.

GSP would like to thank the Rotary Club of Balwyn for supporting this program in 2019.

GSP Young Women’s Program aims to keep girls in school with support for those reaching puberty. Many of these girls miss a week of school every month. GSP supports the girls with an education program, mentoring and sanitary products, facilitated and delivered by GSP Program Officer in Kenya, Lonah Maiko.

“The program has made such a difference for the girls who now don’t miss school.
We have seen an 88% reduction in absenteeism and the girls have so much more confidence”
Lonah Maiko – GSP Program Officer.

The program launched in late 2018 and students were provided with washable/reusable sanitary pads, soap, underwear, education sessions and ongoing mentoring.

We saw an immediate decline in absenteeism due to menstruation, plus a noticeable lift in self confidence and maturity from the young women.

“The girls are very happy now and are no longer ashamed, they have much confidence and happiness”
Lonah Maiko, GSP Program Officer, Kenya

Kenya has had a dry summer, and this has meant a lack of water, this brought to light some issues with washing the reusable pads and some students suffered infections that we identified were caused by inadequately washed and dried reusable sanitary pads. In addition, reusable pads were only lasting about 6 months, mainly due to the vigorous washing techniques and this meant that the students needed a total of 12 pads per year each.

Discussions turned to the use of disposable sanitary pads and our concerns revolved around the hygienic and environmentally sustainable method of disposal of pads. The use of incinerators was investigated but rejected as expensive and the temperatures needed to prevent the release of dangerous gases was found to be unachievable in many locations. GSP have negotiated with Rentokil-Initial to place sanitary bins into all GSP schools, even the rural and remote locations and to service them monthly. To our knowledge, this is new for Rentokil-Initial as in Kenya they normally only operate in the main cities.

The cost of sanitary pads that are listed as certified ‘acceptable’ in Kenya is low.

Consequently, the program is now operating in all our schools using disposable sanitary pads and Rentokil-Initial disposal bins at an overall cost that is lower than the previously budgeted program with washable/reusable pads.