Period Poverty in the Developing World
In late 2016, we became aware of Period Poverty in Uganda, and whilst looking for a solution, we came across AFRIpads, a Ugandan company making cost-effective reusable sanitary towels which provide girls with a sustainable solution to periods, providing cleanliness, comfort and dignity. A fundraising evening was held in 2017, and enough money was raised to purchase 250 packs of underwear and 250 AFRIpads packs. These were distributed by the social workers at Victory Child Care Project, and the feedback after 3 months was fantastic – they were “Keeping Girls in School”! Having received news about the impact of the project, we started looking for funding for 2018, and were very happy when we received a grant for £2,000 from previous supporters of Tŷ Cariad Africa, Scott Bader Ltd. This will provide 330 pairs of underwear and 330 reusable sanitary towels for girls who most need them.
2018 would target the most vulnerable government Primary Schools in Kajjansi in Wakiso District, focusing on the children whose parents are below the poverty line. The challenges faced in this area are:-
· Most of the parents are very poor and cannot afford school uniforms for their children - most wear casual clothes, some had torn uniforms, and some children were bare foot.
· Many girls drop out of school due to teenage pregnany.
· Growing marijuana is a large business in the area - some grow, others pick, while the rest transport and sell. As a result of this, many children dropout and become pickers in the marijuana gardens.
Olivia recently visited to distribute underwear, sanitary towels and training. Here is part of her report.
“We were joined on our visit by the Community Development Officer and two village chancellors, one responsible for Gender, and the other for Health.
We headed to Bulwanyi Primary School, and found the children and teacher waiting. Introductions were made, and I started the training on how to use the sanitary towels, management and other health issues. We distributed to 16 pupils who were present, and gave one to the senior woman to guide them whenever they forget the procedures. One of the chancellors reminded children of their responsibilities and encouraged them.
From Bulwanyi Primary we went to Mpumudde Primary School. We went through the same process of introductions and training. The school had a bigger attendance and we distributed 32 packs to the children and the senior woman.
From Mpumudde Primary School, we went to Sacred Heart Primary School, which has the lowest number of pupils in the whole town council - 128 children. We found only 6 pupils of the 8 in both Primary six and seven, and we distributed to them and their senior woman as well as leaving two for those who were absent.
After Sacred Heart, we went to Munkabira Pimary School and introductions and training were given. We distributed 21 packs to pupils and 2 to the senior women.
In all the schools we went to, the Community Development Officer was more involved in the training, and guided children on different health related issues and how they can keep in school as pupils. In all schools, the teachers were also in need of the packs, but do not fit into the project criteria - they kept asking for packs for themselves since they too cannot afford to buy sanitary towels.
We gave out the user guides to all the senior women to keep reminding themselves and the children. The children were very honest with us about what they have been using; clean old clothes, toilet paper, old mattresses - only a few had ever used sanitary towels. Since the day had ended and the term was finishing, we agreed to resume distribution next term starting with the schools that we did not reach. ”
81 packs have already been distributed, and there are currently 219 packs and underwear still in stock, with a further 30 AFRIpads packs and underwear to be purchased. More packs will be distributed in Term 3 which runs from September 17th through to December 7th, and feedback from each of the schools will be collated towards the end of Term 3.
Keeping Girls in School in 2019
As with last year’s project, we expect to make a huge impact in the lives of these girls, and are already thinking ahead to 2019 when we would love to increase the number of beneficiaries and therefore the impact of the project.
To increase the project to support 660 children next year, we will need to employ another social worker (part-time), and so the costs will increase to £5,250, or £7.95 per child – that’s just 66 pence per child per month. That includes the cost of a part-time social worker to assess, distribute and manage the project; and the purchasing and distribution of underwear and AFRIpads to 660 children.
If you are a business looking for a partner as part of your Corporate Social Resonsibility programme for 2019, or if you are interested in funding or part-funding the project for 2019, please get in touch…
Call: 0777 333 6549
To Keep a Girl in School for 12 months please click the button below
* Each pack costs £7.95 and includes distribution and purchase of a pair of underwear, AFRIpads pack of reusable sanitary towels, monitoring and evaluation