Can you imagine having to quit school because you have begun menstruating? That’s exactly what faces many girls in Uganda. A donation to Globalgiving can change that. Just $30 “buys sanitary pads for one girl for one year ensuring that she stays in school”, and I just made a donation on behalf of Eco Child’s Play (ECP).
Project Needs and Beneficiaries
Many rural Ugandan girls drop out of school at puberty because of a lack of sanitary pads, teen pregnancy and early marriage. Only 38% of today’s kindergarten girls in Uganda will complete primary school. Only 13% will attend secondary school. This project will improve access to education for poor rural girls in Kabarole District, Western Uganda through peer education programs, improved sanitation and the self-sustainable production of locally produced, ecologically friendly sanitary pads.
We will keep girls in school which in turn will affect the entire community through local production of cheap, ecologically sound sanitary pads, training to student to act as peer leaders about reproductive health, and much more.
Total Funding Received to Date: $57,029
Remaining Goal to be Funded: $142,971
Total Funding Goal: $200,000
This project is part of the Kasiisi Project, which has built many schools in the area. One way they are empowering girls is not only providing eco-friendly maxi pads but also reproductive education:
b) Girl’s Reproductive Health
In 2009 Vanderbilt University students Alice Bator and Sarah Quirk, directors of The Kasiisi Project Vanderbilt, interned for month on the MakaPad project in Kampala. MakPads are locally produced sanitary pads made from papyrus paper. The aim of The Kasiisi Project Vanderbilt is to start production of this sustainable, affordable source of sanitary pads in Kabarole. Trials of the new pads are underway in Kasiisi Project schools.
ii) Peer Education
The Jane Goodall Institute (Uganda) runs programs that train girls to be a reproductive health resource for their friends. Children mostly learn about sex from their friends. The peer counseling program takes advantage of this avenue of information and helps ensure that the facts passed on are correct. Kasiisi Primary School has girls who have taken this training. Alice and Sarah carried out interviews to determine the level of knowledge of reproductive health issues, ease of access to accurate information and support, girl friendly latrines and washing facilities and adequate supplies of sanitary pads and underwear. Their data will be used to improve and extend both the sanitary pad and peer education initiative.
Some of the questions young girls asked Alice Bator show the great need for sex education:
Q: Is it ok to sit in the sun when I have my menstrual period?
Q: My school gives me pads, but what do I do when I go to secondary school. I cannot afford to buy one for myself.
Q: Is it normal to get my period for more than 3 days?
Q: If someone with HIV coughs on me, can I get it?
Q: Can I share clothing with someone with HIV, or will I get HIV?
Q: If I count the number of reeds on my wall can I decide how many days I will get my period?
Q: I only have one pair of knickers and I have to walk to school when I have my menstrual period. I do not have pads at home and by the time I get to school my knickers are spoiled and then I have nothing to wear with my pad. What should I do?
From the start, ECP has felt it important to give back to the world. From Kiva loans to donations to organizations like Women for Women International, we’ve tried to make small gifts occasionally in an effort to be socially responsible. We are proud to help support school girls in Uganda buy purchasing them eco-friendly menstrual products. I wish I could buy locally produced maxi pads from natural fibers.
christina drybrough says
Poor girls! We’re so lucky to be able to go to the store and buy tampons, pads, panty liners, etc. These beautiful children have one pair of underpants, and we compain about only having…10….or more… no biggie.