The Effect of menstruation on academic performance of high school girls: a case study on human dignity in Migori County, Kenya
Numerous studies have been conducted on menstrual hygiene the world over. However, Menstrual Hygiene Management is an insufficiently acknowledged problem especially in rural low-income countries, like Kenya, particularly in its relation to school absenteeism. Modesty is the natural tendency of persons to protect their intimacy. Intimacy is a private interior that only the individual person concerned is aware of. There are three contexts which may be used to shield intimacy from strangers and protect it from public view, namely, language, clothing and shelter. This study examined the effect of menstruation on academic performance among high school girls within Kuria East and Kuria West Sub-Counties of Migori County, as a way to recognize their human dignity. This Thesis focuses on three specific objectives, namely, to explore the social and infrastructure support systems about the menstrual event within the family context, to explore the social and infrastructure support systems within the school context and to assess the effect of environmental factors surrounding the menstrual event in the academic performance of high school girls. This study is based on a Conceptual Framework by Mortimer J. Adler known as Educational Perennialism; which is the teaching of students to appreciate unchangeable things like human dignity. A mixed methods research was adopted. The population of the study is adolescent girls in Form 2 and Form 4 randomly selected from three purposefully selected girls-only rural public secondary schools; namely Kwibancha, Nyaroha, and Taranganya Girls Secondary Schools. The sampled data comprised 151 female students of ages between 14-17 years using questionnaires; and 30 females of ages between 17-19 years through focus group discussions. The Parallel Convergent Design Approach was used to analyze the data; with the aid of descriptive and narrative analysis to analyze the qualitative and quantitative data collected, respectively. The study found that the first menstrual experience of the high school girls was challenging considering that some of them did not understand what was happening to them. Some of the girls experienced fear and embarrassment because of a lack of early and effective training at home and in school on the everlasting things of life, lack of support systems at home and at school, lack of money to purchase sanitary pads and lack of accurate information about menstruation and its effective management. The study recommends that there should be training at an early age to empower, train and educate girls on unchangeable things like human dignity and intimacy; introduction of effective and efficient menstrual hygiene management as a topic in subjects for high school girls, and to empower the girls to appreciate themselves first as being human beings and secondly to appreciate their natural girlhood as girls because that is their human nature as adolescent girls; the development of a Code of Ethics and mainstreaming Menstrual Hygiene Management with reference to the yet to be published National Policy on Menstrual Hygiene Management for Kenya. Furthermore, this study makes several recommendations, including, the urgent need of breaking the silence on menstruation.