She empower and uplift the lives of Girls in Kenya

Her way of working inspires individuals to think about ‘how small efforts towards social awareness’ makes everything possible in life. Janet is the active social worker who runs a non-profit government organization whose mission is to create a supportive and accessible environment for primary school girls in Kenya by conducting research to identify issues that hinder learning and working collaboratively with strategic partners to implement sustainable solutions.

Janet during social initiative for The Menstrual Health Management (MHM) program is designed for primary school girls of menstruating age in Kenya

With a focus on Menstrual Health Management (MHM), the organization has empowered more than 12,000 girls over the last few years and held various advocacy events that have reached thousands of people. She is the founder of the Inua Dada Foundation. The organization is moving towards being largely advocacy based. Janet Mbugua was born in January 1984 and raised in Mombasa, Kenya. She is a Kenyan Gender Equality Advocate with a focus on Menstrual Equality.

As we speaks Janet said, “to date the foundation has intervened in the lives of 15,000 girls and women and recently began to engage men, boys and disabled persons in our advocacy. Inua Dada is also an gender equity and inclusion platform that believes in an inter-sectional and multi sectoral approach to addressing social development and policy implementation. we believe that when everyone is included, everyone wins”.

Janet (from left 2nd in row) along with Melinda Gates in Nairobi, Kenya in 2019 during social summit.

Janet started out in Radio at the age of 19 on Nairobi’s Capital FM. Years later at 23, she became the host of the popular travel show Out and About on KTN and later became a Prime Time News Anchor and Reporter, still on KTN. Janet was then headhunted for the position of News Anchor, Reporter and Producer by e TV in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2009. She then returned to Kenya in 2011, where she joined Citizen TV as a Prime Time News Anchor, Reporter and Producer until April 2017. In 2019 curated and hosted a TV Show called Here And Now on NTV, which focused on socio-economic and political issues affecting young people.

In July 2017 she began consulting for The Hive, a US Based organization seeking to amplify Gender Equality messaging in Kenya and other African countries. She is the Project Lead for #Better4Kenya, their first campaign in Kenya.

Janet in a high school in Eldoret, just outside of Nairobi. She had gone to distribute care packages and speak to the boys and girls about Menstrual health, in February 2020

On being asked, ‘What inspired her to work for social issues’? She adds, everyone has a role in nation building in their society. We each can each speak out on gender inequality, unemployment and poverty. We must reflect on the value systems that matter in improving the injustices we see around us and not always wait around for policy to improve. We can play a part in pushing for the right policies. 

In 2020, Janet released her first book, ‘My First Time’, a collection of short stories from women, girls and men on their first interaction with menstruation. The book is a tool for a much needed conversation around sexual and reproductive health and rights and a tool to influence policy change around Menstrual Hygiene and Management.

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling
Janet during social event in Kenya, educating about rights of every Girl Child

Janet was asked about the youth in Africa. She said, youth today have more agency and opportunity than we ever did, they just don’t necessarily have the access or endorsements they deserve. I would like them to know that they are in a unique position to change their world for the better, using their energy, knowledge, technology, individuality and savvy. Each of them has to look inside themselves and not allow the doubts and preconceived notions of the world, hold them back. Youth should should remain hungry and dynamic. “Never become complacent and begrudged. Learn a new skill and be dynamic”, she says.