Based in Kisumu, Kenya, the Kisumu Medical and Education Trust (KMET) is a health and education nonprofit that works to expand and promote access to affordable, quality reproductive health care to communities in need of such services, with an emphasis on maternal and newborn health and adolescent reproductive health services.
KMET works to promote innovative and sustainable health and education programs among underserved communities in Kenya.
KMET learned that adolescent girls from poor families in Western Kenya were not attending school during menstruation because their families could not afford disposable sanitary napkins. Going to school during this time meant feelings of shame and embarrassment and teasing from boys. As a result of many missed days over the course of a school year, these girls’ academic performance suffered.
KMET found through studies conducted in Ghana and Uganda that girls who have access to sanitary napkins and understand the changes their bodies undergo during menstruation were more confident and performed better in school. So KMET started a program to manufacture reusable sanitary pads and sell them at a fraction of the cost of others on the market so girls who were missing school days had an affordable option. The pads are created by at-risk girls ages 10-24 from the Kisumu slums participating in KMET’s Sisterhood for Change (SFC)program. The SFC program provides local girls vocational training, life skills and sexual and reproductive health information.
KMET plans to distribute free sanitary pads to 900 disadvantaged girls ages 12-16 in primary and secondary schools in Western Kenya, with the goal of keeping these girls in school during their periods, thereby improving their academic performance.