In Uganda, 61% of girls drop out of school due to menstrual periods, as they lack sanitary pads.
emerge poverty free has partnered with the organisation Agape of Hope to address this problem in Kasese, Uganda. In 2014 we worked together on a 12 month project teaching young girls and women to produce re-usable sanitary pads. This project gave 1,750 girls and young women the resources needed to attend school and continue working throughout their menstrual cycles. The ability to manufacture these products has also financially empowered 25 households in Kasese, as they sell the sanitary pads to other surrounding communities.
Since the project was completed we have seen reduce girl-child school drop out and at the end of the year absenteeism across the 5 target schools had dropped by 22%. Even though we are no longer working in these schools 85 community peer educators(COPEs) have been trained and will continue to train younger girls and new teachers. The current COPEs include 20 girl pupils, 30 women teachers and 25 supportive parents. Due to this project stigma has reduced with girls and boys able to talk about menstural health and teachers better equipped to assist girls to stay at school.
Providing young girls with resources that allow them to attend school and carry out daily tasks throughout their menstrual cycles reduces the stigma that surrounds menstruation in developing communities like Kasese.
By having the skills to produce sustainable sanitary supplies independently, the girls benefit from being able to use the materials personally and from the income generated by selling the supplies to surrounding communities.