Young Women’s Agency and Action through FEMspaces Initiatives in Meru, Kisii and Migori

Through the FEMspace sessions conducted in schools under the YW4A Initiative, young women actively participated alongside teachers, engaging 216 girls to identify learners’ needs and initiate school projects. Responding to the identified need, learners and teachers proposed supplying sanitary towels to support vulnerable girls lacking access to menstrual hygiene products. 

To ensure inclusivity, learners identified topics of interest for dissemination throughout the school, leading to the design of informative signage by YWCA Meru. These materials covered transformative leadership journeys, forms of violence against women and girls, and reporting structures. Additionally, schools received support for extracurricular activities through the provision of football club equipment.

Photo: YWCA Meru School FEMspaces project initiatives.

Safe Engage Foundation provided essential support by purchasing water tanks for one school and procuring dignity packs for three others. In a notable initiative, the health club at Nyamagenga Secondary School conceived the idea of acquiring a water tank for clean water collection and hygiene upkeep. This initiative stemmed from the realisation that students were previously burdened with fetching water over long distances, significantly disrupting their studies. Capitalising on an opportunity presented by heavy rains and using refreshment per diem funds, the school successfully acquired a water tank to alleviate this challenge and promote a conducive learning environment.

Photo: Safe Engage Foundation supported Nyamagenga Mixed secondary school with a water tank.

A strategic decision was made to purchase sanitary pads through a collaborative effort involving YWCA Kisii WRO, young women, and members of the school FEMspaces, along with teachers from four schools. This initiative aimed to enhance the menstrual well-being of its members. Recognising the significant impact of menstrual hygiene on education access, particularly for girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, the group addressed the issue of absenteeism related to reproductive health challenges. By providing sanitary pads, they sought to ensure that girls no longer missed out on education due to the lack of access to menstrual hygiene products. 

At least 950 girls benefited from this project, collectively receiving 1,440 sanitary pads, promoting educational equity and empowering young women.

Photo: YWCA Kisii school FEMspaces Initiative.

The school FEMspaces approach, involving a consultative process with teachers, young women, and learners, has emerged as a catalyst for promoting young women’s leadership and community engagement.