Sanitary products for hygiene, health, well-being, education... and the dignity of young women and girls


Deborah Sila, you are one of the winners of the Institut Cerba’s 2021 call for internal projects. Can you introduce your association to us?     


My colleague Nancy Kariithi – assistant accountant here at Pathologists Lancet Kenya – and I created the association “Elle peut” (i.e., “She Can”) in 2021. It is a Nairobi-based association that aims to support the emancipation and flourishing of young women and girls. Its name refers to the cause we are defending and that we wish to see become a reality: girls should be able to do whatever they want, without obstacles! And whatever their background.  



How do you plan to use this Institut Cerba prize?    


The financial support from the Institut Cerba will enable us to finance a specific project carried out by the association: to buy good quality sanitary towels and underwear for girls in need. The money will resource the provision, for a whole year, of 50 girls’ needs, girls who suffer at present from menstrual insecurity. 


For a whole year we will be able to help 50 girls currently affected by menstrual insecurity.

Deborah SILA

Manager at the Finance Office at Pathologists Lancet Kenya

Why is this project particularly important to you?  


Growing up in a society where menstrual protection was not widely available (my own family could afford it, fortunately), I was surrounded by girls who were either absent from school during their periods, or were teased by other students if they soiled their school uniforms due to lack of sanitary towels. I remember thinking at the time that if one day I could afford it, I would find a solution so that girls would not have to go through this anymore.  

Later, during my university education, I became aware of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the UN and I realized the magnitude of the problem: this was not a local problem affecting my community, but a global problem that jeopardizes the health, education, well-being and dignity of so many women around the world.    



How did you experience this call for projects from Institut Cerba?  


This idea of having a project for donating sanitary protection to young girls has been in my mind for years, but the practical implementation was hindered by a lack of financial means. So, when I heard about the Institut Cerba’s call for projects, it seemed like the perfect solution to my problem and I immediately applied. 

A few months after submitting the application, when I learned that our project had been selected, it was like a dream come true. And when I shared the news with Nancy, we literally jumped for joy! We will work together on the project because we share exactly the same aspirations.    



Anything else you would like to add?


I would like to express my gratitude to Institut Cerba for enabling our project to become a reality. It is going to help dozens of girls.  

And I would like to take this opportunity to call on all women around the world to be aware of the needs of the girls around them. By acting even on a very small scale, we can bring about big changes!