"Elimu kwa Wasichana kila Siku"
Gender inequality in Kenya contributes greatly to educational stratification. Overall women have less access to education than men in Kenya. Women make up more than 51% of Kenya's population however they are not receiving an equal education to men; the result significantly hinders women from contributing to national development (KDHS, 2009).
Boys continually receive higher scores on national exams compared to girls. Gender stereotypes are prevalent and girls are often viewed as not "very able in mathematics and sciences" (Hungi, Thuku, 2009). Women hold a marginal status within Kenya society. Girls are expected to do far more work for the family and home than boys. This negatively affects the amount of time girls can spend studying and doing homework.
Parents are less willing to provide educational resources for their daughters. Gender inequality is even more prevalent in rural
areas. Girls in rural households perform the highest average number of
household tasks of family members.
One way KUEF is supporting women in educating is by providing feminine sanitary products at Kithoka Primary, Gichunge Primary and BLISS. Lack of sanitary pads and additional pairs of underpants influence young women dropping out of school. On average young women in Kenya, miss 4.9 days a month while they are menstruating (FAWE, 2007.) These absences cut into valuable school time. The results is 3.5 million days a year that girls are not in school because they are having their periods.
In poor rural areas, such as Kithoka, young women who have no access to sanitary napkins are forced to stay at home while they are menstruating. Vulnerable young women may find ways to make money in order to purchase sanitary napkins such as working in the field or prostitution. The more school a girl misses, the worse she will perform on the national exams. It also influences how the family views education for a young women. They often feel she is costing too much and not performing very well. Next, the family decides to stop paying school fees. The earlier a girl drops out of school the sooner she will be married, resulting in very young mothers.
Information from the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the Global Millennium Goals stress the importance of educating women. Educating women results in healthier families, lowers infant mortality rates, reduces family size and is one of the most effective means of birth control. Educated women are less likely to allow their children to be recruited into military action.
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Get Involved "Kuchangia Sasa"
We are currently collecting funds to purchase sanitary napkins and underwear that will be dispersed at Kithoka Primary, Gichunge Primary and BLISS. With the help of a local community health worker, we are teaching a workshop on reproductive health to the female students to ensure proper use and disposal of sanitary napkins. We are working on a long-range plan to make this program sustainable.
$5 USD can purchase sanitary napkins for 5 months for one student
$7 USD can purchase underwear for one student for an entire year
$12 USD can purchase sanitary napkins for an entire year for one student
$50 USD can purchase sanitary napkins for 4 students for an entire year