My name is Qabale Duba the founder of Qabale Duba Foundation (QDF), am a nurse by profession and former Miss Tourism Marsabit County and Miss Tourism Peace and Investment Kenya 2013/2014. Am also a Mandela Washington fellowship for Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) fellow 2016.
QDF is a non-governmental organization that is championing for the rights of girls/women in
northern Kenya. The aim of the foundation is to promote the development of pastoralist’s
communities through facilitating their access to education, health, social services and economic empowerment in Marsabit County.
My project is called PAPA (Pads and Panties) PROJECT, The intervention of PAPA project was meant to initiate measures that will equip girls with sanitary towels and panties, to enable them
concentrate on their studies. The girls will receive a year’s supply of the pads and avoid skipping lessons monthly to attend to their physical demands. Pads are as important to school girls as pens,
they can’t stay without them. When girls are able to access pads, they tend to get empowered,
which then enhances their dreams, and eventually helps in economic development. Their poor
parents could not provide for pads and panties since even food is a huge challenge to the families.
Due to the high cost of sanitary towels, girls from poor families from nomadic backgrounds continue
to use unhygienic sponges, mattresses, tissue paper and even leaves. Therefore most of them
avoided school altogether during their menstrual period to avoid the shame of soiling themselves in
classes where they will be with boys and teachers. The study indicated that, a girl absent from school
due to menses for four days in a month of 28 days loses 288 lessons in a calendar year – that is 192
hours of missed learning due to absence from school. As a pastoralist girl I also faced the same
problem when I was in primary school and these gave me motivation to help the girls with this basic
necessities and make them remain in schools through PAPA PROJECT.
Our plan is to locally make reusable period panties in Marsabit and supply them to remote village
girls’ schools in Marsabit County. Our target is to reach to 100 girls every month and 1200 girls by
the end of the year. On the other hand we do trainings on sexual and reproductive health in schools
not forgetting menstrual health in the society through local radio stations.
To see more on what the organization does visit our website: www.qabale.org