Factors Influencing Primary School Girls Participation In School Activities In Runyenjes Subcounty, Embu County, Kenya.
In Kenya adolescent girls fare poorly relative to boys in an educational system characterized by enormous growth, deteriorating quality and rising costs. Girls are more likely to drop out of school prematurely and are less likely to do well in primary school National exams. The study targeted girls in primary schools in Runyenjes sub-county. A sample of 100 girls and 87 teachers was used in the study. It sought to understand the factors that influence girls‟ participation in school activities. The study aimed to determine the influence of lack of sanitary towels, menstrual discomfort, cultural perspectives, pre-menstrual awareness and sanitation facilities on girls participation in school activities.The statement of the problem was that primary school girls do not participate fully in school activities and so the study sought to find out the factors that influenced this. A descriptive survey design was used for the study. Questionnaires and Focus Group Discussion (FGD) were used to get data from the girls and teachers. The target population was girls in class 6-8 in Kathanjuri zone in Runyenjes Sub –County. A sample of 100 girls and 87 teachers were selected for the study using the stratified random sampling and the simple random sampling was used to pick the specific girls. The data was analyzed through descriptive statistics and tables were also used for presentation. The study revealed that none of the above had any influence on girls participation and therefore girls have an equal opportunity just like the boys. Sanitary towels are available to the girls at school 94.2% and also at home 91.4% and they therefore do not have to miss school or fail to participate in school activities. Menstrual discomforts make some girls 68.6% to stay away from participation, however in the sampled schools the girls are assisted with pain killers 27.1% and so they are able to cope. The teachers in the schools prepare the girls adequately 90% on what to expect and so they were not caught unprepared when they started their periods. There are no cultural beliefs 40% that prevent girls from participating in the school activities. The sanitation facilities in the schools are in good condition65.7% and offer the girls the required privacy. They are also adequate 65.4% in relation to the number of girls in the school. The study recommended that provision of sanitary towels should be encouraged as part of good participation in school activities. Response to period pains requires due attention aimed at enhancing girls participation. Any cultural beliefs that may exist that could limit girls participation should be addressed by all stakeholders. The study concluded that the lack of sanitary towels, menstrual discomfort, pre-menstrual awareness, cultural beliefs and sanitation facilities were not factors that influenced primary school girls participation in school activities. The study also recommended the need for girls to receive explicit, correct and relevant information on matters of puberty and menstruation through formal and non formal. Adequate water and sanitation facilities that are designed with privacy in mind and which are girl friendly should be part of the school infrastructure. It also recommended the provision of adequate underwear for the girls so as to have enough for changing so that they are free from infections and dampness. The study gave areas for further study to be conducted in other areas of Embu county to establish other factors that could be influencing primary school girls participation in school activities.