In Tanzania, young girls skip school during their menstrual period because they can't afford hygiene products. The goal of this project is to enable 2520 female students to attend school while having their period for 4 years.
Currently, disposable sanitary pads remain costly, inaccessible, and environmentally unsustainable. Unable to afford these necessities and as an alternative to sanitary pads, girls will often resort to using unsanitary rags. The intent is to provide each female student with one pack of washable, reusable pads so that they can stay in school for the entire day.
My name is Gadson Timothy and I am an active peace corps volunteer stationed in the northern rural area of Zanzibar, Tanzania. In my 22 months of service, I’ve gotten the chance to identify some of the core challenges which affect many female students. By far, the greatest obstacle to continuing their education is school absences. The daily regular attendance for female students is disrupted when they experience their menstrual cycle. According to 2018 school records, on average, female students miss 3.2 consecutive school days per month, 84% of these students reported the cause to be related to their menstruation needs. Moreover, when compared to 0.6 days missed for male students per month, we see that female students are absent 4-6 times that of their male peers. The high number of absences directly impacts the female’s academic performance. In the last five years, only male students have passed the national NECTA Form Four examination (a college acceptance and placement exam, similar to the ACT or SAT exam but scored on a pass or fail standard score).
COST AND IMPLEMENTATION
I’ve partnered with the Tanzanian company WomenChoice Industries, winner of the 2018 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and HER competition. The company sells one pack of four reusable sanitary pads for 5000 TSH, or about $2.00 USD.
At the end of the fundraising period, the funds raised will be exchanged for as many pads as possible. During the second week of August, I will meet with the CEO of WomenChoice Industries at their headquarters to purchase and transport the pads back to the village I am stationed in. An information packet will be distributed to all those that receive the reusable sanitary pads.
To ensure financial transparency all donors will be notified and informed throughout the process. I will send out the purchase receipt and pictures of the pads being given to the students in an individual thank you message from the GoFundMe account. In addition, the GoFundMe page will be updated to include the purchase receipt and pad distribution photos.
PARTNERINGS WITH WOMENCHOICE INDUSTRIES
WomenChoice Industries is a social enterprise established to provide solutions to menstrual and other feminine hygiene needs. WomenChoice Industries is a leading company working to advance women’s health in Tanzania. The company also manufactures and sells reusable child and adult diapers, menstrual pads, breast pads and postpartum maternity pads.
The first two links give information on WomenChoice Industries and the “SDGs and Her" Competition, the third link gives general knowledge about the importance of sanitary pads.