Menstrual health and hygiene are still a big challenge in rural communities of Kakira Outgrowers Rural Development Fund operation area of Busoga region. Girls from vulnerable, poor households are faced with a range of menstrual challenges that including lack of menstrual materials; lack of sanitary facilities at school; and lack of appropriate information about the menstrual health and hygiene management.
Many girls lack funds to buy sanitary towels or pay for doctor’s visit because of menstrual periods. Girls experience effects of menstruation like cramps, pain, and bleeding that take away from their ability to concentrate in school. Many girls do not have anyone to turn to for questions or guidance about menstruation, especially those without biological parents. They also face stigma and discrimination at school and at home, sometimes facing families that marry girls off once they hit menarche.
KORD, in partnership Foundation for Sustainable Community-Based Development, worked with Mr. Tanjim Kazi (a student from SUNY Geneseo) to pilot a project for menstrual health hygiene in which 30 girls and 20 teachers were trained in menstrual health and hygiene management. Both teachers and girls were so eager to learn and excited to be a part of the project. The outcomes were that teachers and girls were more confident and skilled in creating their own reusable sanitary pads, providing basic information care and support to girl regarding the menstrual health and hygiene. However, due to the limited budget, only 20 teachers and 30 girls were able to be trained in menstrual health management and reusable sanitary towel making using locally available material like with cloth, leak proof and hand needles
After seeing the success and enthusiasm that the pilot project generated, KORD plans to expand on the program by providing sewing machines, press bottom fixing machines, press bottoms and materials in order to scale up the production of the re-usable sanitary towels and face masks to prevent COVID 19. The sewing machine will also help in making spare dresses in case a girl happens to bleed through her clothes. In addition, KORD plans to train 60 senior women teachers and 485 vulnerable girls in menstrual health and hygiene management that will enable over 1500 vulnerable girls access basic information on menstrual health management, reusable sanitary towel and face masks annually. We hope that through this program, we can expand our footprint and empower teachers and girls to feel comfortable and perform their best at school.