This is why he does so.
In what can be considered a rare initiative – well at least coming from a man – Dennis carries sanitary pads and tampons in his bag for any woman that may be in need of them.
Whether you forgot to carry a pad when that time of the month comes knocking or if you do not have the means or money to get pads, Dennis Nzioka can provide them to you for free.
Why he carries pads and tampons
Speaking to Daily Nation, Dennis narrated how his decision to start carrying sanitary pads began over ten years ago.
“I was teaching boys and girls from Korogocho who had dropped out of school. During one lesson, one girl had her first period. Some classmates laughed at her while others wondered in horro if she had hurt herself. She was very siturned and immediately left for the bathroom. I assumed she had gone to “check” herself. One of my female colleagues followed her and learnt that her period had started. My colleague went to the shops and bought her two pads. She told the girl that if she needed more, all she had to do was ask for some. The girl ultimately cam back to class. That’s when I realized that menstruation is not just a women’s issue. Even men should be part of it. Since then, I have been carrying a pack of sanitary pads for these types of emergencies.”
He went on to reveal that “the desire to break the silence and change the narrative of shame associated with menstruation motivates me. Also, I believe candid conversations and sustained dialogue on taboo topics will help change lives for the most vulnerable people.”
Dennis insisted that his initiative was not in any way sponsored and was purely driven on his desire to help out women in need.
“It is not a coordinated pad distribution campaign or a PR exercise or publicity stunt. It’s just me buying pads and tampons with my own money and carrying them around to give any woman or girl who needs them. However, from the responses I have received so far, this is not sufficient – it needs to be a massive campaign and concerted effort by cross-sector partnerships.”
Dennis revealed that he always carries a pack or two of pads in his bag recently adding tampons into his supply.
“Tampons are used by women for their portability, discreetness and ease of use. I think pads are mostly for those with heavy flows and because they are easily available and affordable,” he said.
Sanitary pads and tampons are not the only personal items that Dennis carries to help women during their menstrual period.
“I added panty liners as they are really popular these days. I’ve also had women who request certain tablets to help with menstrual cramps which cost say 10 bob. Others have requests for a roll of tissue or wipes so I also carry some – just in case.”
Dennis distributes sanitary pads to women in prison, those in mental institutions as well as in teenage girls’ homes.
Response from the public
Dennis admitted to receiving some backlash and negative views from online users when he initially started his endeavor.
There was a silver lining to his initiative however as various organizations and individuals reached out to him to support their initiatives or to get involved in their outreaches to women and girls.
“The broader strategy is to make this bigger and to spark conversations that do away with the shame over menstruation, while providing women and girls with the supplies and information they need.”
Personal details and activism
Dennis is a sexual and gender minorities activist with a focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer rights.
He is a devoted Catholic and human rights defender.
Dennis is also a father to a four-month-old baby, Galilee Nzioka, and he is openly gay.