Menstrual Hygiene Management program is launched

The aim of our Menstrual Hygiene Management program is to ensure that girls and women manage their monthly preiod in a hygienic way. This involves ensuring that girls and women have access to information about menstruation as well as access to clean and safe menstrual absorbents.

 

Menstrual Hygiene
Letricia, Maria, Agnes and Allen setting off for Kampala

Following the set up of the sewing room in Ruhanga our menstrual hygiene ambassadors set off for Kampala for a  two week residential course

menstrual hygiene management
Gerald Karuhanga, MP for Ntungamo Municipality and Ida Horner, LTHT Chairperson discussing with Diana Nampeera, Days for Girls country director the effectiveness of the washable sanitary pads]

I arrived in Kampala two weeks later  just in time for their graduation.

Menstrual hygiene
Agnes receives her certificate from MP Gerald Karuhanga

Our 17 year old Agnes was top of the class.

menstruation day
Graduation day

The graduation was also attended by Gerald Karuhanga MP for Ntungamo district  where our ambassadors hail from. In his speech,  Karuhanga said that menstrual hygiene  is an issue that is very close to his heart and promised to prioritise it during his 5 year term as an MP. He further promised to lobby government to remove import duty on fabrics used to make sanitary towels

International Menstruation Day

Menstrual Hygiene
Menstrual Hygiene Day launch

May 28 was  Intenational Menstrual Hygiene Day and official launch our Menstrual Hygiene program across  Ntungamo District. The event was attended by at least 160 including officers from the district as well as the municipality.

Menstrual Hygiene Day
Mp Gerald Karuhanga launches LTHT’s Menstrual Hygiene program

The initiative was launched by Karuhanga MP for Ntungamo who promised to work with LTHT to ensure the success of the program across the district

Menstrual Hgyiene
Student from TEAM College shares her experience

 

In February this year thirty nine girls from heard TEAM College received free sanitary packs as part of our trial.  We heard from the girls and their Head Teacher on 28 May.  They told us the pads had changed their lives whilst their Head Teacher reported reduced absenteeism.

May 28 Menstruation day
Graduation Day

We heard about the Menstrual Hygiene Ambassadors’ experience at the residential course in Kampala, which included participants from Kenya and Ghana and they too shared their experiences. We heard about gruesome practices such as girls being sewn up during their periods, not being allowed to milk cows and digging holes in the ground and using these as a means for managing periods etc

Where are the men in the conversation

 

Menstruation matters
Men at launch day

As the event progressed it transpired that, hotel security  were excluding men from the event on the assumption that this was a women only event. One of the men took exception to this and complained to us. He said

we are the ones that make decisions in the home and you are excluding us  from the  meeting

He had a point. A point that to goes to explain why in 2016 we still need an International  Menstrual Hygiene Day. The fight for access to Menstrual Hygiene and sanitation should include men. We learned from our research that some of fathers believe that spending money on Menstrual Hygiene Management is a waste of money and that boys have a tendency to embarrass and shame girls during their periods

The Hard Work begins here

Allen and Agnes working on sanitary pad kits
Allen and Agnes working on sanitary pad kits

Now that the training is out of the way, work on producing sanitary towel kits for sell has started. And here are some of the completed products. I hope you are agree with me, when I say, they have done a fab job.

Menstrual hygiene
Finished wings

Can you help?

We have come a long way with this project and have set ourselves an ambitious goal of ensuring that every girl and woman in Ntungamo district can access sanitary pads at a reasonable cost.

Please consider supporting our efforts by making  a donation via our VIRGIN PAGE

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/sanitarypads4girls

Date for your diary- 28 May is International Menstrual Day 2016

A week before celebrating Menstrual Hygiene Day 2016, three young women from Itojo sub-county graduated from the Days for Girls University, a 2-week residential course to learn how to make washable sanitary pads and soap, become women’s reproductive health ambassadors and understand the basics to run an enterprise.

 

International Menstruation Day
Allen, Letricia and Agnes with their Days for Girls certificates

Gerald Karuhanga, the MP for Ntungamo Municipality who fully supports the exemption of taxes in women’s sanitary products, attended the graduation ceremony at the Days for Girls centre in Kamwokya, Kampala.

He would like to see a considerable reduction on girls ‘ school dropouts due to a lack of access to an affordable and sustainable alternative to reusable sanitary pads and would like Uganda to be an example to other African countries in their quest to provide girls and women tax-exempt sanitary products. o ignored

menstrual hygiene management
Gerald Karuhanga, MP for Ntungamo Municipality and Ida Horner, LTHT Chairperson discussing with Diana Nampeera, Days for Girls country director the effectiveness of the washable sanitary pads]

Let Them Help Themselves (LTHT), a UK based NGO which has recently opened a branch to operate in Uganda, has sponsored these three young ladies to attend the course and start up an enterprise to make washable sanitary pads in Ruhanga, Ntungamo.

LTHT is hosting an event at Jerusalem Tree Cottages in Ntungamo town next Saturday, May 28 coinciding with International Menstruation Day to bring together local politicians lead by Hon. Gerald Karahunga, men and women from all walks of life to talk about menstruation and the challenges girls and women face every month due to poor menstrual hygiene management infrastructure and lack of access to affordable sanitary products.

It will also be a great opportunity for the three graduates to introduce the washable sanitary pads to the community and promote women’s reproductive health among the attendees.

 

periods
An example of the products included in the DfG kit: a shield and two liners

LTHT is hoping the event will be the trigger of a long journey to end with the existing taboo about periods and reproductive health in the rural areas of Western Uganda.

If you would like to keep updated on this initiate or learn about other LTHT projects, follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

About the author: Maria Alvarellos is a Program Manager at LTHT and can be contacted via Twitter  @malvadri

 

 

Managing Menstrual Hygiene in Ruhanga- setting up the sewing room

Menstruation is a normal biological process and a key sign of reproductive health, yet in many cultures it is treated as something negative, shameful or dirty. The continued silence around menstruation combined with limited access to information at home and in schools results in millions of women and girls having very little knowledge about what is happening to their bodies when they menstruate and how to deal with it (source: developmentbookshelf.com)

This statement is true of girls in Ruhanga. We are working to change this and our journey starts here.

Menstrual Hygiene Management
The sewing room

This is our new sewing room that will serve as a training room as well as centre of operations.

Menstrual Hygiene Management

The local machinist tweaks the sewing machines before the girls are let loose on them. This type of a machine is known as a locker and here the machinist sets it up to ensure that it works and that it is threaded correctly.

 

Menstrual Hygiene Management
Waiting for interviews

With the sewing room set up, an advert went out to invite girls not in education or employment to attend an assessment day.

From left to right: Allen, Marion and Apophia -
From left to right: Allen, Marion and Apophia –

These are three of teenage girls that were selected to become ambassadors of our menstrual hygiene program. They will be put through an intensive training program including a a two week residential course in Kampala.

 

With no time to waste, work got under way and here the girls are practising their sanitary pads making skills
Menstrual Hygiene Management

Agnes cutting out pattens

 

Menstrual Hygiene Management
Letricia and Agnes

Team work- Letricia and Agnes threading the finishing machine

 

Menstrual Hygiene Management
Letricia

Letricia was a late addition to the team. She has caught up. This is the first liner she made independently.

 

Finance lesson

As well learning how to make sanitary pads, the girls are learning about managing money. These skills will be essential to the sustainability of the project. More about this in future posts

Jenn Dutton
Jenn Dutton

This journey has been made possible by Jenn who run the London Marathon in aid of Menstrual Hygiene Management. The money she raised has gone towards the setting up of the sewing room.  Jenn completed the London Marathon in 5 Hours 6 minutes. You can still contribute to Jenn’s campaign  at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JenniferDutton1

 

Menstrual Hygiene Management
Greetings to Jenn

 

Send a chicken to an African woman- the story so far

Back in August 2015 we started on a journey to work with the women in Ruhanga SW Uganda on initiatives that would improve their incomes.  By November we had settled on the idea of micro poultry farms for 29 women.

It has been an interesting journey so far that has seen women trained up in chicken feeding, coop building  before being handed the chicks to look after on International Women’s Day

Dorothy outside her kitchen coup
Dorothy outside her chicken coup

This is a typical chicken coop built from local materials. We provided wire mesh, nails doors and iron sheets and the women did the rest.

Women collecting their share of chicken feed
Women collecting their share of chicken feed

Each woman was given  70kg of quality feed for their chickens. This feed will cover the first three months. It is anticipated that the chicks will be let out  for a couple of hours a day to supplement their diet with greens and insects. By the end of the three months  the chickens should have started laying. The women will be able to afford the chicken feed themselves from the se hopefu

 

Maria giving out vitamins
Maria giving out vitamins

The chicks were very tired when they arrived from the breeder on International Women’s Day celebrations and needed vitamins. This is Maria distributing chicken Vitamins to the women.

Ida giving out chikcs
Ida giving out chicks to Sylvia

Having worked on this from a distance, it was an absolute pleasure to be present at the launch by handing out chicks to women. I must say I was overwhelmed by the energy and atmosphere of the day.

 

Night and her husband Paddy with their share of chicks
Night and her husband Paddy with their share of chicks

Night Barayemura is one of the beneficiaries of this initiative. She’s 40 years old and has 7 beautiful children. As many others in the community, she’s a subsistence farmer and currently earns an average of £4 a month by selling some of her green bananas (matooke), beans and ground nuts (peanuts) around the village. Through this project, she’s hoping to provide a better diet for her family as they currently consume green vegetables twice a week and meat only on Christmas Day.

Caroline and her husband collect their laying box
Caroline and her husband collect their laying box

Following the distribution of the boxes, the carpenter was once again very busy making up 29 laying boxes. The boxes are very heavy and it was good see that men recognised this and stepped in to help their wives take the boxes home.

Secondary Beneficiaries

This program has benefited suppliers of  services too

 

Denis- Carpenter on the Chicken project
Denis (one in the stripped polo shirt)- Carpenter on the Chicken project

Denis (one in stripped polo shirt) is 32 years old and is married with three children. Currently, he has a team of 7 carpenters and apprentices who help him with different orders. They mostly build doors and seats. For the ‘Send a chicken to an African woman’ project, he built 15 feeders and 27 nest boxes. He reckons his profits were about 240,000 UGX, (£51.62) which he reinvested in materials for his workshop.

Send a chicken
Ronald Carpenter on the chicken program

Ronald is 32 years old and is married with 3 children. He has benefited twice fold from the ‘Send a chicken to an African woman’ project. Some of the women asked him for help to build their chicken coops and LTHT contracted him to build 27 doors and 14 feeders. He hired two additional people to complete the job, at a rate of 10,000 UGX (£2.15) per day. He told us his net profit from the LTHT contract was 500,000 UGX (107.53), which he used to buy new materials for his business.

 

Ultra poverty
KAMINYA TUKORE committee signing supply contract with Ruth (animal print dress)

Ruth is 33 years old and has one daughter. Ruth is poultry and farmer and supplied 330 chicks to the project which meant increased income and a profit of UGX 1.3 (279.56). Ruth says that, the project has given her an opportunity to help her other women through sharing with them the knowledge about poultry keeping. This had always been her long time desire as she wants to see women work there way out of the poverty. In addition, the project has created awareness about her business thus expanding her clientele base.

Next steps

In the next steps the women will learn about routes to market, book keeping and savings. If you would like to be updated as to the women’s progress sign up to our Newsletter  or like our Facebook Page

 

 

 

 

Feeders, Drinkers and chickens

There has been good progress with the chicken initiative. The local carpenters have been busy. The chicken coops are nearly done. Next on the agenda is coops inspections before the chickens arrive next month.

2016-02-14 10.41.19

Drinkers and feeders ready to go. Feeders were hand made by Denis and Ronal our local carpenters

2016-02-14 14.52.54

Participants in the chicken initiative collect their feeders and drinkers

2016-02-14 14.52.55
Rovina and Linious excited to receive their feeders and drinkers… They told us they cannot wait for us to come and check their chicken coops

2016-02-14 14.52.55-3
Monic and Jovlet with their feeders and drinkers

Who are the Ultra Poor?

The Ultra Poor are defined as those people who live on less than 50 cents a day.

On 9 December 2015, the media here in the United Kingdom was preoccupied by the Ultra Poor. This is because of a report launched that day by the charity BRAC   at a lecture hosted London School of Economics (LSE) . The lecture discussed BRAC’s approaches to tackling extreme poverty through programmes that target the Ultra Poor.

At the time of this lecture,  we had just completed a home assessment exercise in Ruhanga. This involved  visiting twenty nine households in the community. Amongst our findings, that some of those households earn as little as seven pence (7p) a day.

As I followed discussions about the Ultra Poor in the media, my thoughts turned to those households in Ruhanga.  I wondered how they fitted into the narrative about ultra poverty.  I asked whether labels such as “Ultra poor” are useful in helping us understand the causes and solutions to poverty?

I will probably never know the answers to these questions, but I agree with some of the findings;

  1. the Ultra poor have no assets to generate their own income
  2. tend to be women
  3. engage in casual labour
  4. and are poorly paid.

What are we doing about the Ultra Poor in Ruhanga?

Ruhanga is a rural community in SW Uganda. The incidence of poverty is high yet most lack assets and or the skills to increase their income. The question that faces us, is what sort of interventions are appropriate in addressing such poverty.

In order to address this question, we have teamed up with a local women’s group to with a view to addressing those challenges.

We have undertaken to work with the women to increase their income by £1.75 a week.  We will achieve this by enabling participants to set up a poultry rearing business as well as acquire skills in Semi Intensive poultry rearing.

send a chicken- ultra poor
Gertrude Tumusiime- Chairperson KAMINYA TUKORE women’s group

We have called this initiative SEND  A CHICKEN TO AN AFRICAN WOMAN and work got under way after christmas with the women signing up to the terms of the project.

Ultra poor
Members of the KAMINYA TUKORE women’s group at the Send a Chicken inaugural meeting

A visit to Ruth’s farm

A key aspect of this initiative is, the women being accountable to each other through their leadership committee. Our role is to facilitate that process.

Shortly after members signed up to the project conditions, the committee visited Ruth to sign a supply agreement.

Ultra poverty
KAMINYA TUKORE committee signing supply contract with Ruth

 

send a chicken- ultra poor
KAMINYA TUKORE committee visit a chicken breeder’s farm

Ruth breeds chicks and sells them on.  On this visit, the women placed their order and learned about what poultry rearing.

Our in country team have their work cut out  but they are as excited as the women are.

Keep an eye on these pages for monthly updates.

If you would like to support our efforts please consider making a donation of £2.50 to our SEND A CHICKEN CAMPAIGN

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/sendachicken

Jenn Dutton takes on the London Marathon for LTHT

London Marathon
Jenn Dutton

My name is Jenn Dutton.  I am 23 years old and a full time nanny. I love to cook, bake and travel. On April 24th 2016, I will  be racing in one of the great British sporting events, the Virgin Money London Marathon  on behalf of LTHT.  The London Marathon is a gruelling 26 miles 385 yards long, passing through the streets of London from Blackheath to the famous finish line at The Mall.

Why am I doing the London Marathon?

I love to set myself challenges and believe that you must always push yourself and try new things. I really enjoy running and exploring new places with it.

I truly believe that LTHT is a fantastic charity and I would like to support the work that they do around Menstrual Hygiene for rural girls in Uganda . 

Rural girls in Uganda miss several days of school per year due to lack of sanitary towels. This, in turn, leads to many girls school results suffering and some girls even dropping out of school as a result. 

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can make a difference to such girls if we work together

I like the unique ways in which LTHT works to improve the daily lives and futures of the women in Ruhanga . This inspires me greatly to train my hardest and give the marathon my all.

I hope to raise a lot of money for this small charity so they can help the people of Ruhanga to help themselves.

Please support me by making a donation at

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JenniferDutton1

Every little helps

https://www.myfundraisingfilm.com/view/080c5507-2893-4941-9786-94ac7e34df95?utm_source=RenderComplete&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=myfundraisingfilm

End of year Report from LTHT

Christmas is a few weeks away and we thought this would be a good time to not only wish you a Merry Xmas but also share with you some of our achievements  in Ruhanga -Uganda in 2015

Our focus in 2015 has been the individual through our Skills Development Initiative (SDI)

As part of SDI, girls in Ruhanga learned how to make sanitary towels that were then distributed to 37 teenage girls in the village
http://www.lethemhelpthemselves.org/index.php/skills-development-initiative-tailoring/

In August, we met with some of the girls who benefited from the program and their mothers. Here is how we got on
http://www.lethemhelpthemselves.org/index.php/menstrual-hygiene-in-rural-uganda/

Women in the village: Following the August review of the first phase of SDI, it became apparent that women had been largely excluded from previous interventions and that we  didn’t know enough about their needs.

We sought to change this in Phase 2 through a series of meetings with the women facilitated by Maria and Alex.

There is now, a new and more inclusive women’s group and agreement amongst the group on initiatives that  will enable them to increase their income and acquire new skills.

Alex explains http://www.lethemhelpthemselves.org/index.php/2015/10/

One of those initiatives is the poultry initiative and 30 women  have signed up already. Through this initiative, women will  acquire skills in semi intensive poultry keeping and increase their income from 40p to roughly £1.76 a week

Alex has carried out home assessments of all the women who have agreed to be part of this initiative.  From the information gathered, we have gained an insight into the level of financial and practical support participants  will need to succeed.

We also have an understanding of what it will cost us to set up.

We need to raise a further £1500 to get the initiative off the ground. We are therefore running a campaign called SEND A CHICKEN TO AN AFRICAN WOMAN. A donation of £2.50 can make a huge difference.

To support this initiative please visit our campaign pages at

http://www.lethemhelpthemselves.org/index.php/send-a-chicken/

or

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/sendachicken

We also set up a bursary for women in Ruhanga to learn how to use a sewing machine. We currently have four women enrolled on this programme.

We will provide feedback on their progress in the new year.

London Marathon: Our application for a space at next year’s London Marathon was successful. We have a space and  our runner is Jenn Dutton  and this is her fundraising page http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JenniferDutton1 .

Please show her some love by sharing her page

 

For regular updates about our work in Ruhanga, please visit our Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/LetThemHelpthemselves/

 

Thank you for being part of our journey in 2015. We wish you a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year

Alex, Freda, Julie, Maria, Sadia and Ida

Volunteer at a secondary school in rural Uganda

You’re invited to rural south-west Uganda to help promote life opportunities for village children.

teamcollege

This project is primarily looking for volunteers who are TEFL or hold other teaching qualifications and who have experience with working with teenage students in both formal and informal settings. This project will also be suitable for other self-motivated individuals who can assist in the classroom and/or on a one to one tuition basis and/or in running after school clubs for the students and who are prepared to help establish the framework for this new project. Fundraisers to help the children’s physical surrounding are also more than welcomed!

Team College is one of two secondary schools in the village of Ruhanga with the other school, Ruhanga Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School, being government aided. Being government aided does not mean free education as significant fees and charges apply, putting secondary school education out of the financial reach of many families. As such, many school children drop out of education at the end their primary schooling severely impacting on their long-term life opportunities.

Team College was established by the former headmaster at Ruhanga Seventh Day Adventist Secondary School to cater specifically for brighter children who would otherwise be squeezed out of education due to these high fees. A not-for-profit school, Team College offers education from Secondary 1 to Secondary 4, when O-levels are taken before the students either progress to A levels or take the vocational training route which is preferred by many given the lack of formal jobs in the Ugandan economy.

volunteer_at_team_college

The school is few in number partly because it has an educational standards admissions policy but also because its physical resources are limited which is off-putting to some families despite the school’s actual education attainment being held in high regard locally.

Given the not-for-profit fees it charges (which basically only cover essential costs such as paying the teachers) without third party assistance, the physicality of the school is unlikely to improve significantly. This is especially evident in one classroom where one of the walls has collapsed and in the limited boarding provision where students have to sleep on the floor rather than in beds.

This is a new volunteer project that follows a process of consultation with students at the school to identify (a) whether the input from volunteers with different cultures and backgrounds would be beneficial to the overall learning process and, if so, (b) what specifically would students want from volunteers.

The students were keen to welcome volunteers to their school to not only run workshops around such topics as cultural differences, English language development and careers advice as well as computer and internet skills, they were also anxious for volunteers to help with the physical conditions of the school and would welcome working with others to establish a community based library accessible to all students in the village to cater for reading for pleasure as well as reference books for course work.

Click on the sign up button below to find out more about this project:

sign_up

Send a Chicken

We need your assistance to help women in rural Uganda increase their income from 40p to £1.75 a week. That’s just 25 p a day and half the price of a daily newspaper here in the UK but £1.75 is the amount of money a woman in Uganda needs to send three children to a government school, fight malnutrition and ensure that her family can access basic health care. It’s a life changing amount. It’s a difference you can choose to make.

LTHT believes in a “hand up” rather than a “hand out” approach and you can help make that difference by donating £2.50 to our “Send a Chicken” initiative. “Send a Chicken” to an African woman is a direct way of aiding women in rural Africa to become economically independent.

Your donation of £2.50 will buy a two-month old chick for an African woman and create a life changing experience for the recipient and her family.

If you can dig deeper, for £10 we can deliver two two-month-old chicks to a village woman, help them set up a pen for the chicks, provide chicken feed for three months as well as vaccines. After that your gift will be self sustaining generating much needed income for years to come and will help build a better nourished next generation of children.

Within two months the hens will start laying eggs and we will help the women find a route to market for the surplus eggs after her family’s nutritional needs have been met.

We ask you to support this initiative because

  1. Women in rural Uganda still do all the hard work for only 40p a week and simply can’t afford this type of investment. (For most women in rural Uganda £2.50 is over an entire month’s earnings.)
  2. This initiative will enable women to acquire a new skill.
  3. By closing skills gaps amongst rural women who have no assets to generate their own income we enable them to improve their income and livelihood
  4. Better skilled African women in rural areas have a chance of generating income to benefit the community as a whole
  5. 2.3 million Ugandan children are chronically malnourished, the eggs laid will provide essential proteins for growing children

Every Little helps –Make a difference today by donating £2.50

Choose your bundle today:













Please note: 100% of your donation goes directly to the recipient. There are 0% deductions

If you would prefer you can also donate through Virgin Money Giving here

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