Unexpected closure of schools due to the coronavirus pandemic has been a “double tragedy” for most teenage girls in Mt Elgon. Not only did school closure dim the possibility of learning, but they also lost free access to sanitary towels provided under a government scheme to promote menstrual health and hygiene.
Friends Church Peace Team (FCPT), through the international COVID Collaboration fund, donated sanitary towels to teenage girls in an effort to reduce defilement cases associated with poor access to the items. They were able to give a three-month supply of sanitary towels to 115 girls from Kipsigon, Chebyuk, Nomorio, and Tuikut in Mt Elgon.
FCPT Coordinator Getry Agizah says, “It is alarming that so many teenage girls have fallen pregnant during this pandemic which can have lifelong consequences for them. We are extremely concerned about their wellbeing and their access to health care and other support services. Recently, a father who realized his sixteen-year-old daughter was pregnant went to get a quack to perform an abortion on his daughter. She was given a concoction and sadly she lost her life.”
On the 7th of October 2020, FCPT is looking forward to working with poor women and girls to better their reproductive health outcomes. Apart from donating sanitary towels they will be providing support to teenage girls undergoing the teenage pregnancy crisis by encouraging them to carry their pregnancies to term despite stigma and rejection. However, this education does not promote the idea of young girls engaging in risky sexual behaviors that lead to early unwanted pregnancies. FCPT also hopes to continue engaging the students when schools reopen through teen student clubs where girls can have the opportunity to share among themselves the challenges they experience.