UNICEF Under Fire Over Fake Kibera 'Period Poverty' Statistics

  • The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) faces a serious backlash following publication of fake statistics on 'period poverty' among girls in Kibera, Nairobi.

    Fact-checking organization Africa Check released a report declaring that there was no research to support UK newspaper Independent and Unicef's claim that '65% of Kibera females trade sex for sanitary pads'.

    Kibra MP Ken Okoth was among those who led the onslaught against UNICEF, informing them that they did not need to resort to fake figures to help Kibra girls.

    "You don't have to bismirch our community to help Kibera girls," he wrote.

    The Independent cited 'new exclusive research' from UNICEF when in fact, no such data existed.

    In a September 2018 article, the paper claimed that seven in 10 females in Nairobi’s Kibera slum have traded sex for sanitary pads.

    Two reports UNICEF cited when contacted were done in Western Kenya, with one featuring no mention of sanitary pads in exchange for sex at all.

    A UNICEF official promised to provide a third report to support their figures but had not done so by the time of going to press.

    Dr Stella Chebii,a gender and communication expert who has done research on period poverty in Kibera stated that the '65 percent' figure was too high, explaining that it was much more likely that many girls had sex in exchange for money that ends up being used to buy, among other things, sanitary pads.

    “There is a possibility that girls could receive money in exchange for sex which ends being used to buy items that include sanitary towels, but the motive to exchange money for sex in most cases is not motivated by the lack of sanitary towels,” the Moi University lecturer told Africa Check.