13th and 15th of January, 2022
Project Title: Responding to the Menstrual Hygiene and Physiotherapy Needs of Girls, especially those with Special Needs in Kajiado North
Field Report: Upper Matasia Primary School
Field Activity Date: From 13 to 15 January 2022
The menstrual hygiene training and distribution of the Mina cup by Scandicare took place on from 13 to 15 January 2022. Upper Matasia primary school is one of the 9 schools covered by the project ScandiCare is implementing to meet the menstrual hygiene needs of girls needs in Kajiado North. Many girls miss or drop out of school due to the stigma associated with menstruation and the prohibitive costs of sanitary products. Kajiado North is one of the districts in the larger Rift Valley province with the largest number of special needs education units and a high number of children with disabilities (approximately 70%) have multiple disabilities, cerebral palsy and other conditions that impair mobility and optimal functioning of limbs, a fact that negatively impacts on their education. Other categories of learners with disabilities include those with Mental Handicap/Intellectual Disability (MH/ID), Physical Handicap (PH), and Autism.
The menstrual hygiene training to respond to the menstrual hygiene needs of girls with special needs attending Upper Matasia primary school was conducted between 13/01/2022 and 15/01/2022. The training took place at the school where the ward representative for persons with disabilities Ms Esther Njeri, the school head teacher Mr Maingi and ScandiCare jointly planned the training. The training was organised for the following target groups as explained in this report.
- Girls with special needs of various types attending Upper Matasia primary school in Kajiado North
- Home based girls with special needs in the region of Upper Matasia primary school
- Economically vulnerable girls from the regular streams at Upper Matasia Primary school
- Parents of the two target groups named above
- Menstruating Girls from the households of the girls with special needs
ScandiCare provided menstrual hygiene training to a total of 81 beneficiaries including girls and members of their households. Besides girls with special needs who are the project`s primary target group, ScandiCare provided training to economically vulnerable girls attending from the mainstream “regular units” at Upper Matasia. These included economically vulnerable girls from female headed households, single headed households (mother or father) and orphans.
The menstrual hygiene training conducted by ScandiCare Field Officers include a presentation of the challenges of puberty, the stigma associated with menstruation, the menstrual cycle, sanitary products commonly used by girls in and out of schools and their disadvantages, and an introduction to the Mina menstrual cup.
The menstrual hygiene training continues to generate excitement among the girls and their parents. Among the questions registered from the girls and their parents included the following,
- Can the Mina cup be shared where household members menstruate on different days?
- Can the use of the Mina cup interfere with virginity in the case of girls who have not had sexual intercourse?
- Are there Known disadvantages of using the cup such as infections, discomfort?
- Does one need to remove the cup when visiting the toilet for short or long calls?
Scandicare Field Officers conducting the presentation addressed these concers. Among the advantages of the Mina cup highlighted, it can last for as long as 5 years, this comes handy for girls from low-income households with very limited ability to afford sanitary products for managing menstruation.
Besides the provision of the menstrual hygiene training, Scandicare distributed the Mina menstrual cup to a total of 82 beneficiaries. The cup was distributed to girls and their households to prevent possible cases of infections resulting from the sharing of the cup within households. As highlighted in other reports, the beneficiaries of the project come majorly from poor households and in line with the “do no harm principle” (the principle of avoiding exposing people to additional risks through actions undertaken within the context of a project intervention), ScandCare distribute the cup not only to the girls with special needs, but also to other menstruating members of their households.
The menstrual hygiene training and the distribution of the Mina cup to the target group continues in other schools.