African Cotton Industries has partnered with Inua Dada to supply free sanitary pads to school girls across Marigat, Baringo County. Local manufacturer with over 50 years of experience in Kenya gave Inua Dada 4,000 free packets of sanitary pads, enough for 450 girls. This is meant for an entire year.
The company supported Inua Dada and Red Cross in re-packaging donations into easy hand-outs for the 10,000 girls receiving donations. Inua Dada is a local NGO in Kenya with aims and goals of helping girl child to be school throughout the learning process. Information flyers were inserted in all hand-outs to enable beneficiary to read for themselves. The package was delivered from Nairobi to Marigat.
African Cotton Director Khalil Anjarwalla, in a recent interview with Citizen TV, spoke about this noble initiative: “Sanitary pads are an essential commodity that gives girls the comfort and confidence they need to learn uninterrupted. These girls, who are living well below the poverty line and whose families cannot afford to purchase sanitary pads, miss up to six weeks of learning each year due to menses.
This impedes girls’ education and empowerment of women throughout Kenya. The director finds it as a responsibility to lend a hand where possible. He appreciates Inua Dada, and says is one of many incredible initiatives which raise awareness and allow the public to channel support for this critical cause.
African Cotton is a key player in fighting this issue on a national level. The company, the only manufacturer of sanitary pads in Kenya, is part of the National Sanitary Towels Coordination Committee. It is a lobby which culminated in the Government of Kenya, through the Ministry of Education Science and Technology, setting aside a budget for the provision of free sanitary pads to primary school girls.
In last year’s budget Kshs.200 million was set aside to provide more than half a million girls with an annual supply of sanitary pads. This is a first for any Government across the world.
It is exciting to see momentum build up around this initiative; however there is still a long way to go. Reports from Girl Child Network Kenya and World Health Organization state that the need is for over two and a half million girls, both in primary and secondary schools. It is initiatives like Inua Dada that help close this gap.
In 2005 the firm committed to the development of the industry in Kenya, investing close to 100 million Shillings in a modern European, state-of-the-art sanitary towel ‘wings’ manufacturing plant. It added to the existing rectangular pads manufacturing set-up in Nairobi. The company states that the equipment, the only such in Kenya, has the capability to produce a variety of sanitary pads enabling the company to tailor products for their customers, whilst maintaining quality in design and specifications.
The quality and affordability of their products enables African Cotton to be the number one and only supplier of pads to institutions such as Ministry of Health via Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA), state hospitals including Kenyatta National Hospital as well as Non-Governmental Organizations such as Mission for Essential Drugs and Supplies (MEDS). In addition, the company works in close collaboration to develop products with several organizations throughout East Africa, including Zana Africa.