THE PROBLEM

Millions of teenage girls across the African continent are forced to miss school because they lack the information and resources to manage menstruation — and this has serious educational consequences. This includes poor academic performance, grade repetition, and a disproportionately higher dropout rate for girls compared to their male classmates.

  • In Kenya, 3 out of every 4 girls miss 3 or more days of school a month because they do not have sanitary pads.
  • In Tanzania, 3 out of 4 girls do not know about menstruation before getting their first period.
  • In Ethiopia, 2 out of 3 girls do not receive any education about menstruation at school
  • In developing countries across the world, 2 out of every 5 girls will miss up to 5 days of school every month when they’re on their periods.

Many girls resort to using unsafe substitutes for sanitary pads (like mattress filling, cow dung, leaves, or pieces of cloth), or engage in dangerous behaviors like transactional sex to obtain sanitary protection. This increases their vulnerability to premature sexual debut; early or unplanned pregnancy; child marriage; and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS.

For many girls in this situation, having your period can be a very isolating time. Myths and taboos surrounding menstruation can keep girls alone in the house for the duration of their period, forbid them from playing with friends, or even speaking to others, which can cause anxiety, discomfort, or feelings of extreme isolation.

OUR MISSION

Our mission is to keep the most vulnerable girls in Africa’s marginalized communities in school through a social enterprise model that provides re-usable sanitary pads combined with sexual and reproductive health education and life skills workshops, also known as the Huru System.

OUR SOLUTION: THE HURU SYSTEM

Huru Kits are distributed at community and school events led by facilitators trained by Huru staff. Classrooms of girls — frequently along with teen boys and other community members — attend the distributions, where Huru facilitators speak about menstrual health, sexual and reproductive health, gender norms, gender-based violence, self-confidence, and HIV/AIDS prevention and confidential testing.

Huru programming is always developmentally appropriate and culturally specific, creating safe spaces for girls to hear a message rarely spoken. Huru collaborates with the local government and community to implement a program that reflects the direct needs of the community it serves.

Understanding that girls do not live in a silo, Huru always works with boys, teachers, parents, and community leaders to help foster a gender equitable environment where girls are supported both in and out of the classroom.

We also train young women and men in the communities Huru works in to act as mentors and resources for their communities when Huru staff members leave.

In addition, Huru provides training and jobs to women and men in under-served communities. All Huru Pads are locally made in Mukuru Kwa Njenga, Nairobi, Kenya’s second-largest slum.

Huru manufactures a high-quality pad that ensures girls feel safe and comfortable. Huru Pads are leak-proof guaranteed for 18 months.