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Suffer ye, little girls, the government has no pads : The Standard

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Re-usable sanitary pads displayed on the table during an interview on December 13, 2018. Huru supply sanitary pads for needy girls in both Primary and High school. [Edward Kiplimo,Standard]

Millions of schoolgirls from poor families across the country have been forced to use crude methods to deal with their menses following the government’s failure to provide them with sanitary pads.

A spot check by Saturday Standard across the country revealed difficulties the girls were exposed to in their quest to acquire education.
In Kisumu’s Nyakongo Primary School, headteacher Millicent Adhiambo said they last received sanitary towels early this year.
According to Ms Adhiambo, a local NGO had been providing pads to vulnerable girls they support under their education programme.
SEE ALSO :How Government has shamed and abandoned four million girls “But our female teachers always have some pads for an emergency in their bags and drawers, which they always provide to save girls who experience menses in school unexpectedly,” she said.
The school has set aside a washroom, which has a special place where such girls can take a shower and change their clothes in case of such emergencies.
The situation is similar at Rongo Primary School in Nyando where there are 300 girls benefiting from the sanitary pads.
For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.
“We had to depend on some packs the whole of the last term which were donated by a group of religious tourists from the US who visited the school to speak to the children,” Dorcas Oyier, the headteacher, said.
Swift move
“Once a girl comes to you having a sweater tied around her waist, we understand her situation. We have nicknamed the pads ‘mkate’ (bread) so when they come to request for some, they would say ‘teacher assist me with a packet of ‘mkate’ and we move swiftly to help,” she said.
In Kisii, Bondeka Girls Principal Lucy Anam said her girls had only received the sanitary pads from the office of the Woman Representative Jerusha Momanyi.
“We have not received any pads from the national or even county government and we will really appreciate any assistance,” she said.
In Homa Bay County, headteachers said they receive the pads sporadically.
The teachers said they are sometimes forced to contribute funds to purchase the towels for girls.
And in Central Kenya, most schools are yet to receive sanitary towel provisions this year. Wilfred Nyaga, the deputy headteacher at Mwerongai Primary School in Meru, said although they have been receiving regular allocations of sanitary towels since 2016, they are yet to get any this year.
“We have been receiving approximately 1,800 packets of sanitary towels annually and because we only have around 200 girls in need of them, we have been able to give them at least three packets per term,” he said.
The situation is, however, different in Machakos County, where three schools in Matungulu and Kangundo Sub-counties reported having a steady supply through local sub-county education offices.
In Western Kenya, lack of sanitary pads, tampons, toilets and water is forcing girls to skip school.
Hesborne Omolo, the principal of Kakamega Muslim Secondary School, said girls who can’t afford sanitary pads miss classes at least three days a month.
“The government supplies pads but they aren’t enough and this affects many girls,” said Mr Omolo.
This year, the school received sanitary pads in February when the 173 girls got eight pieces each.
At St Angela Bulimbo RC Primary School in Matungu, pupils last received the sanitary towels early in the second term. Each girl got five packs.
According to the school’s headteacher, Edith Nato, the supply was enough at that moment but the school could not keep any for an emergency.
Shinamwenyuli Secondary School in Butere last received the sanitary pads in March from Kakamega Women Representative Elsie Muhanda under the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF).
Principal Sammy Ogola said they have also been relying on charity and donor groups to supply the 187 girls with pads.
At Booker Academy Mumias, in primary and secondary sections, it is a regulation that parents provide the towels. The school has also put up a relief a package managed by the Guidance and Counseling department.
[Edwin Nyarangi, Kevin Omollo, Stanley Ongwae, Olivia Odhiambo, James Omoro, Erastus Mulwa, Olivia Murithi, Nathan Ochunge and Brian Kisanji]

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East Africa: Lapsset Project Adopted By AU in Move to Boost Continent’s Free Trade Area

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Kenya’s mega Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (Lapsset) Corridor Programme has been adopted as an African Union project and redesigned to link the Lamu port on the eastern African Coast of the Indian Ocean to Douala port in the western Africa Atlantic Ocean.

The adoption means it is now under the African Union and elevates the project’s status to attract foreign direct investment and other financiers compared with its status during the launch in 2012. It also means the implementation will now be a regional affair under the AU, and will be important to the realisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The Africa Union’s High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa, Raila Odinga, made the announcement at a ceremony last week in Mombasa, Kenya. The ceremony was attended by ministers from Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan, who signed a memorandum of understanding for development and funding, which was preceded by a three-day technical team meeting to discuss the future of the project.

The meeting was also attended by prospective financiers of the project including the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Economic Mission of Africa and the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa Development (Nepad).

Last July, the Lapsset Development Authority applied — to the AU Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), under Nepad and subsequently to the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI) project under the AU Commission — for consideration under the AU flagship projects of Agenda 2063 after facing financial constraints and lack of political will, which has slowed its implementation.

The Lapsset authority argued that the project had potential to boost continental integration.

Mr Daniel Osiemo, Nepad Kenya’s representative, said the corridor project is the only PIDI project and the largest in eastern Africa with a market catchment of more than 160 million people.

“This infrastructure development will promote the achievement of the AfCFTA and the inter connectivity will enhance movement of goods and services,” said Mr Osiemo, adding, “Lack of infrastructure was cited as a major impediment in doing business and this project will create a link from Lamu port and help ease trade by reducing the distance through an efficient land transport system.”

“Ethiopia is a large country and we need infrastructure to make business cheaper, that is why we are investing in the Lapsset corridor and we have already tarmacked more than 500 kilometres of road from Moyale to Awasa. Our presence here should send a clear signal that we are for the project,” said Ethiopia’s ambassador to Kenya Melos Alem, who witnessed the signing of the MoU. He refuted claims that Ethiopia had abandoned the Lapsset project in favour of Eritrea’s ports of Assab and Massawa, which are closer to the country. He also added that southern Ethiopia, with a population of 50 million people, will be best served by the Lamu port.

The initial design of the project was to cover Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan, but the redesign and adoption by the AU will see the project connect East Africa with West Africa to facilitate the AfCFTA and also make it easy when lobbying to be considered under the AU programme.

“The new regional project implementation programme will assist partner countries to hasten the development of the project and this commitment will attract more financiers to bring this project to success. In the past, each country has been funding its own projects but the MoU will facilitate crowd funding,” said Mr Odinga.

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“The project has been adopted by the AU and this will give it an upper hand in crowd funding,” said Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport James Macharia.

The project will comprise roads, railways, ports, pipelines and special economic zones, to be implemented in two phases, starting with the Lamu-Isiolo-Addis Ababa to Djibouti by road and rail, while the second phase will connect Lamu to Kribi/Doula in Cameroon via Juba in South Sudan and Bangui in Central African Republic.

Lapsset joins the ranks of other continental corridors such as East Africa’s Northern Corridor and Central Corridor.

Some of the projects under the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative being considered by the AU are the Nigeria-Algeria gas pipeline project (Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline); Missing links on the Trans-Sahara highway and optic fibre link between Algeria and Nigeria; Dakar-Ndjamena-Djibouti road/rail project. Others are North-South Corridor road/rail project; Kinshasa-Brazzaville bridge road/rail project; Unblocking political bottlenecks for ICT broadband and optic fibre projects linking neighbouring states and construction of navigational line between Lake Victoria and the Mediterranean Sea.