Woman Representative calls for the reinstatement of the school feeding program
Mumina Bonaya, an Isiolo Woman Representative, has urged the government to restart school feeding programs in drought-stricken arid and semi-arid counties.
As a majority of households, predominantly pastoralist, grapple with climatic shocks, making it difficult for them to afford basic amenities, public schools in the counties have seen high absenteeism.
Ms Bonaya, who was delivering sanitary towels to more than 400 girls at Mwangaza Girls Secondary, said President William Ruto's administration should increase humanitarian aid to hungry Kenyans and schools to ensure learning is not disrupted.
She suggested that the Ministry of Education provide sanitary pads to schoolgirls because many were missing class due to a lack of the items.
"The provisions will ensure girls stay in school and progress to the highest level," she said, lamenting that the state and other entities were not focusing on menstrual hygiene.
According to County Director of Education Peter Nyaga, the majority of parents were unable to provide sanitary pads to their daughters because their priority was food and water.
In the last week, he said, at least six cases of students fainting in school due to hunger had been reported across the county.
"While we focus on ensuring that food is available in schools, it is also critical to provide girls with sanitary towels on a continuous basis," he said.
The provisions, according to Janice Kirimi, principal of Mwangaza School, will ensure that students stay in school.
Upheavals in the economy
While the government recently gave the school five 50kg bags of rice, she claims they only lasted five days.
"As a result of economic problems, the majority of the parents have not been consistently paying for the meals, posing a significant threat to the feeding program," Ms Kirimi said.
According to Yvonne Kimotho, a KCSE candidate at the school, a lack of sanitary pads has caused girls to lose confidence in themselves.