image: Brian Otieno
The theme for the 2020 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is to work together to achieve social and environmental justice for all.
Poverty is multidimensional, so many factors feed into it and our Power Of Pads project does not have all the answers but what we do know is that doing nothing is not in our nature.
According to a report by The World Bank 2020, Kenyans living below the international poverty line, of $1.90 per day, has decreased from 46.8% in 2005 to 36.1% in 2015 and 33.1% in 2020. Most of this decrease has been in rural areas, which is really good news but it is still too high and disproportionately affects women and especially girls. It is a recognised fact that reducing the birth rate is an important factor in combatting poverty. The most effective way of achieving this is by ensuring that girls receive the education they deserve. This gives girls choice and the ability to earn an income.
For all of us the present pandemic has put life on hold and none more so than for girls in rural Kenya. Many schools have been closed which means that these young women have not had the security and safety afforded to them by being at school. This has resulted in many unplanned pregnancies, shockingly some as a result of rape. For them poverty is a stark reality limiting their life choices.
We work with women to set up small businesses, that we seed fund, to make reusable sanitary pads. They can then sell them on to make a small profit with a percentage being given to schoolgirls for free. It isn’t the complete answer to eradicating poverty but together we can make a small difference.