What you need to know:
- Senator Gloria Orwoba’s period-activism stunt in Parliament has drawn massive support from gender rights’ advocates both locally and internationally.
- Amref Health Africa Group CEO Dr Githinji Gitahi, commended Ms Orwoba’s act as an effective form of modern day advocacy.
- Akili Dada applauded her efforts as a policymaker and her struggle to ensure period dignity is achieved.
Nominated Senator Gloria Orwoba’s period-activism stunt has drawn massive support from gender rights’ advocates both locally and internationally.
On Tuesday, the lawmaker took to attending a senate plenary sitting in a ‘period-stained’ suit to symbolise the prevalence of period poverty in Kenya. She later gave notice of motion on a stand-alone law that would ensure provision of sanitary towels to every girl in public primary and secondary school.
Amref Health Africa Group CEO Dr Githinji Gitahi, was one of the first people to commend Ms Orwoba’s act as an effective form of modern day advocacy.
“This is effective advocacy to give women and girls their rights to menstrual health and hygiene,’’ Dr Gitahi wrote on his Twitter account.
Also commending Senator Orwoba’s bravery in a LinkedIn post was Dr Jeniffer Martin, the Global Director at Pandemic Periods. She reiterated concerns over the implementation of Kenya’s free sanitary towels programme.
Dr Martin drew similarities between Kenya’s programme and Scotland’s Free Period Products Provision Act of 2021.
Period Products Act
“There are reports that this policy, like so many like it, needs to be implemented appropriately and consistently across Kenya. In my native Scotland, the Period Products Act is not reaching those in rural areas who do not have access to transport or who do not live near a council-run facility. It also uses digital apps that require access to a smartphone, which excludes those who do not have digital literacy or live in digital poverty,’’ reads part of her post.
Other lobby groups brought to light concerning data on the prevalence of period poverty amongst Kenyan girls and women.
“We commend nominated Senator Gloria Orwoba for standing up for 65 per cent of girls and women who cannot afford sanitary products in Kenya. Period poverty coupled by climate change are for sure the shadow pandemic,’’ a Twitter account attributed to Drawing Dreams Initiative shared.
Akili Dada, a women’s rights’ organisation also noted on their Twitter account that 3.7 million public-going school girls continue to lose up to 13 learning days per term due to period poverty.
“Additionally, 10 per cent of girls aged 15 have been forced to pay for sanitary towels through sex. Every girl deserves access to education and menstrual hygiene products. So together, let's end period poverty. We applaud Senator Gloria’s efforts as a policymaker and her struggle to ensure period dignity is achieved,’’ reads part of the Twitter thread by Akili Dada.
Irungu Houghton , Amnesty International Kenya’s Executive Director described Senator Orwoba’s advocacy as an act of love on his Twitter account, and called for the government to distribute pads to girls in every school.
Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja also wrote on his Twitter account about Senator Orwoba’s bravery: “To change some things, you must make people uncomfortable and you did! I will do my part in Nairobi for our girls,’’ he promised.