This fall, Glenwood Springs resident Kayce Anderson and members of her new nonprofit, For the Good Period, were in Kenya. The group filmed young girls talking about what they want to be when they grow up.
Millicent wants to be a news anchor. Frida wants to be a doctor, Edna a nurse. Yet, these girls know it is an uphill battle. Many girls their age miss a week of school every month because they do not have the resources to manage their menstrual cycles. Falling more and more behind, they tend to drop out of school entirely, marry young and never go on to realize their career goals.
For the Good Period is the result of Anderson not only finding out about the gender gap in Kenya and many third-world countries, but deciding to take it upon herself to do something about it.
"It just struck a chord with me and I felt a drive and need to figure out a way to address it,” said Anderson.
Anderson and North Dakota State University Professor Dr. Molly Secor-Turner, led their team to Tharaka-Neithi county in Kenya — their suitcases full of reusable menstrual pads made using the same technology that Fort Collins company Thirsty Diapers uses for its products. Their hope is that by providing these kits, along with reproductive information, Millicent and her classmates, do indeed grow up to enter the workforce and are in control regarding if and when they become mothers.
Schools were not open when they got to the town of Chogoria, but word had spread that they were coming, and pre-teen and teenage girls walked up to 5 miles to attend the education sessions the women of For the Good Period were holding — even though it is an uncomfortable subject that is often ignored.
Secor-Turner’s research concentrates on adolescent health. Her studies show that young people retain information pertaining to their well being and put it to use. "When girls don't have info they aren't armed to make healthy decisions," said Secor-Turner.
In the future, the hope is that the reusable pads can be handmade in Kenya, thus adding jobs and an ownership stake in the program for people in the communities For the Good Period has visited.