Mobile app to help distribute sanitary towels to needy girls in Kenya launched

Chase Bank Foundation and ZanaAfrica Group today announce the launch of The Nia Network, a mobile application to coordinate national sanitary pad distribution created for ZanaAfrica by Upande Ltd. The application can be downloaded through the Chase Bank website.

The Nia Network was conceptualized in 2008, but only after partnering with Chase Bank Foundation has it become a reality. ZanaAfrica Founder and CEO, Megan White Mukuria, first launched the National Sanitary Towels Campaign in 2006 when she was then incoming-President of the Rotary Club of Nairobi South. This campaign, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, the Girl Child Network, P&G, and others, brought greater awareness to the plight of over 800,000 girls who miss 6 weeks of school a year due to lack of sanitary towels. Since then, thousands of well-wishers, companies, religious and service organizations, and charities donate pads.

Chase Bank Foundation, the bank leader in investing in women, the environment, and technology platforms, provided the means to create this app. “Partnering with ZanaAfrica ties in to our aspiration of being in the forefront of women empowerment, as women are the core pillar of our society” Duncan Kabui, Chase Bank CEO. This is Chase Bank’s second major online networking endeavor, after their launch of Kilele Planet earlier this year.

Technology allows for new levels of coordination, cooperation, and transparency. “It is so important that we know what each other is doing, so that we can effectively reach the girls who need our support,” said Mrs. Mukuria, “Through registering distributors, we want to create a real-life network to improve practices in distribution and help girls achieve their purpose. Small things make a difference to girls: do girls actually receive the pads donated to them? Are they provided with the right, appropriate health education?” ZanaAfrica plans to answer these questions, with stakeholder meetings with partners including: FAWE-Kenya, The Iddi Achieng Trust, HEART, Path Foundation, Sage, Fortress of Hope, and Mash Foundation.

Chase Bank Foundation, ZanaAfrica and Upande are calling on other donors of sanitary towels – including those distributed through the government tender this year – to reach out and register so that together we can celebrate our collective success and ensure each girl has the tools she needs to thrive.

Naomi Kinyanjui from Path to Womanhood said, “I am so excited about the launch of the application, it’s going to enable all those carrying out distribution of sanitary towels and panties to reduce duplicating efforts in specific areas and schools. In five years to come the lack of sanitary towels should no longer be an issue of discussion but a hurdle Kenyans will have jumped. The application will be one of those “best thing since sliced bread” moments… thanks to ZanaAfrica and Chase Bank Foundation for initiating the process!”

The application is compatible with Android-based phones, though will soon expand to others.

Next steps for the application include standardizing distribution methodology, directing donors to the disadvantaged schools, and monitoring the impact of pads on school performance metrics.

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