When people talk about their period cycles, I thank God that I now have a cycle. Meaning, it is now somewhat predictable. Previously, it was more like a period doodle, yup, something out of a toddler’s workbook. I was somewhere in between a 21 day and 37 day
cycle doodle. So I seldom knew when my period was coming. I was caught unawares more than once, hah, Auntie Flo had a way of checking in when I’d just left the house. Perfect timing. Not. When Auntie Flo comes when you are not prepared, you become innovative, as you wait to find a pad. It’s most irritating when it’s easier to find a condom, than a pad in the ladies bathroom.
You can imagine my sheer joy when I heard about Inteco Kenya and their pad dispensers. It was music to my ears.
Meet Ms. Munira Twahir, the beauty and brains behind Inteco Kenya.
I was 9 when I started periods and I was told not to touch boys. That was the end of my orientation into womanhood. The last 14 years has been on my own research and exploration which without guidance can be very risky territory to navigate.
Periods need to be demystified. It needs to be talked about so that girls do not feel as though it is a hindrance or a burden. The fact is womanhood should be celebrated. I have noticed there is a clash in wanting to speak about it and cultural norms. What can you or should you tell a 9 year old about sex and reproduction? Yet, they have started their periods and they are at risk of so many things because of this. I read a recent study that some girls have no association with having periods and pregnancy. This is an extreme case but, many girls transition into womanhood alone.
Inteco Kenya aims to alleviate menstruation related stress and anxiety by providing women a comfortable, accessible and flexible purchase of single sanitary pads. But, we are much more than that. We want to work with partners, individuals, corporations and institutions that share our passion, to celebrate women. Menstruation should not be a burden or a curse. It should not be a hindrance in the girl child education. It should not be a reason to go into seclusion every month.
We have a Sexual reproductive health programme. It’s aim is to give girls information about their body without judgement. Our curriculum covers reproduction, Menstruation, Sex, Risks, Contraception and boys. In each of these topics we have a technical teaching and the emotional side.
We usually have a conversation with the girls in the school to assess their level of knowledge and curiosity. Some schools we have been to are very conversant with menstruation health management but not with STD/STIs and vice versa. This is done as a casual conversation between the facilitator and the girls. The ratio of facilitator to girls is 1:40
Next we come back and get the numerical data of the conversations we had. This is for our statistics and research. It will form our base line.
We then use the two research methods to write a report on the particular school which we will share with the administration. This report will guide us on how to structure our classes and sessions.
The machine is part of the programme. We sell the pads at 10 shillings. The pads are not our own we are more than happy to partner with companies that are in line with our cause to supply their pads to our demographics. In a school, we only need the space in the lavatories.
You can get in touch with her here.