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  • Writer's pictureNeil Moore

Making an impact, cup by cup

A recent survey* estimated that Kenyan schoolgirls lose 20% of their school education time because they cannot afford modern menstrual hygiene products and therefore cannot attend class during their monthly periods. This issue is not limited to Kenya.

Over the past few years, our healthcare initiatives have included menstrual health, and we have worked with local partners who make and distribute disposable menstrual pads. More recently our focus has been on silicon menstrual cups, which are affordable, reusable, and sustainable as each cup can provide its owner with 12 years of service.

In the past, we've received feedback that we should be cautious about introducing this "technology", because of perceived cultural issues and as a result, we have taken small careful steps in introducing the cups. Our experience has been almost entirely positive and both our local Kenyan partners and women and girls from the wider Kibera community have embraced this with enthusiasm, with over 140 attending introduction sessions over two days.

Dorothy (also the Football Academy's lead female coach) has been continuing to teach young women how to use the cups and give out cups that have been donated from the UK. With other local team members, she has been taking menstrual cups into schools as part of their personal well-being and healthcare programmes, and is about to embark on an initiative in a local women's prison.

And the downside? Explaining to male customs officials at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport what the 250 menstrual cups in my suitcase were, and why I was carrying them.

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