The advocacy issue adopted by the Y-ACT Kilifi Chapter is the inadequate access to information and services on menstrual hygiene management within the county. Thousands of young girls and women in Kilifi County have inadequate access to MHM information and services which makes them susceptible to period poverty, teenage pregnancies, period shaming, and poor menstrual health outcomes hence limiting the dignity, body integrity and overall life opportunities for women and girls.
According to a survey done by Zana Africa in 2017 in Kilifi County, 39% of Adolescents girls received their first information on menstruation from teachers and 38% from friends. 89% of the girls felt the need to keep their periods a secret from everyone and 67% felt uncomfortable and ashamed of their bodies during menstruation. As relates to menstrual hygiene products, only 21% felt they had enough pads to manage their period comfortably.
As such, the overarching goal is to have MHM considered as a priority issue by the county departments of health, gender, and education and to expedite the domestication of Menstrual Hygiene Management guidelines. The establishment of MHM coalitions with the unequivocal inclusion of the youth will in the turn increase access to MHM information and services for young people in Kilifi county.
The Baseline Meaningful Youth Engagement Baseline Scoring was a key highlight in Kilifi County in the month of September. While interactions between youth advocates and policymakers are often marred by challenges such as generational gaps, the process which employs the use of the MYE SCORECARD certainly broke down this barrier. Through this forum, great strides were made in advancing accountability and meaningful youth participation in the policy processes of Kilifi County.
Connect 2 Retain, established in September 2015 is a grassroots community-based organization (CBO) based in Mnarani Ward, Kilifi County that works with Adolescents and Young People living with HIV/AIDS in Kilifi county with the aim of improving their living standards and reducing the stigma associated with HIV infection among community members. The name was coined from Connect to Protect, an organization in the United States in New Orleans, where C2R’s Chief Executive Officer, Nassim Jahangir was based as a Mandela Washington Fellow. She learnt some of the best practices in impacting community empowerment of Adolescent Young People (AYP), where the main problem was to retain AYP living with or affected by HIV/AIDS in good health so they could grow to achieve their full potentials as adults, hence the birth of the name. C2R is also keen in ensuring that retention for girls in schools is upheld by providing them with affordable and re-usable sanitary towels, alongside mentorship programs life skills lessons.
YACH Kilifi was formulated out of the Adolescent, Young People Sexual Reproductive Health & Rights, Strategic Response for Kilifi County 2019-2022. It is a functional structure for involvement of Adolescent Young People and Communities in Programs and policy advocacy thus responding to second objective of the strategy: To strengthen meaningful engagement of communities in Adolescent and Young People’s progress. The council compromises of 17 Young People from youth-lead organizations: a male and female representative from all the 7 sub counties, a representative of college and higher education institutions, representative of Young People living with HIV and a representative of Young People living with disabilities who were selected though a highly competent and analytical process lead by the county Adolescent and Young people focal person.
MTG leverages the power of football to create safe spaces for peer learning. Girls aged between 9-25 years are registered annually to participate in football leagues that run between March and November. Once allocated to a particular field, football teams are formed according to the different age categories i.e. under 10, under 13 and open age (14-25 years). Thereafter, weekly football practice sessions and football leagues are carried out in the respective MTG community fields. MTG transforms these leagues into safe spaces where girls are equipped with knowledge, skills and opportunities to realize their potential. MTG runs a comprehensive football for girls’ program in the Coast region that entails leagues and tournaments involving over 200 primary and secondary schools annually. The MTG United Team comprises of the elite players who participate in national and international matches, thereby positioning girls for professional football and expanding their career and livelihood pathways.
Based in Kenya, Zana Africa Programs (ZAP) leverages reproductive health education and sanitary pads as a combined intervention for women and girls’ empowerment. Our programs, which formerly operated under Zana Africa Group from 2008 to 2019, have served over 50,000 adolescents, thanks in part to the support of Zana Africa Foundation. We were registered as an independent nonprofit organization in late 2019 and have commenced operations in January 2020.