Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta signed an act last Wednesday requiring the country’s government provide quality sanitary napkins to state schools free of charge.
About 65 percent of the the women and girls in Kenya cannot afford sanitary napkins and in 2012 30 to 40 percent of girls in the country reporting missing school because they did not have access to pads while menstruating, making them more likely to drop out.
“I feel so happy that the government…is taking the step towards making Kenya a better place for all girls,” said 14-year-old Joyce in a statement through Plan International, a nonprofit that works to protect vulnerable children. “Now girls will never miss school again because of their periods.”
The country stopped taxing sanitary products a decade ago and has budgeted $5 million to distributing the products to underserved girls for the 2017- 2018 fiscal year.
“This is a pioneering step, which will ensure that more girls can secure their right to a quality education,” said the nonprofit’s country director, Lennart Reinius. “It also shows that when girls speak up, they can become champions of change.”