Menstrual Hygiene Day 2017

28 May 2017 is  Menstrual Hygiene Day  and we will be hosting a conversation about periods in conjunction with Ntungamo Municipality 

We bring together men and women, girls and boys as well as their politicians from the district of Ntungamo SW Uganda.

This year’s theme is Education.

We will explore the impact of Menstural hygiene on a girl’s education.

We will discuss the need to educate boys and men about periods in order to minimise the impact of social norms on women and girls

Our goal is to normalise the conversation about periods and continue the work we started last year. 

At this year’s event we would like to give out 1000 kits to school girls.  This would ensure that girls do not miss school days  because of a lack of access to menstrual absorbents.  We however cannot do this without your help  and you can make a difference for as a little as £1.

  • £1 provides a girl one pod that includes a napkin and a holder
  • £5 provides a girl a full kit
  • £10 provides two full kits
  • £20 provides 4 full kits

The pod and kits last for three years making this a cost effective way of managing periods. Please donate to our Sanitary Pads 4 Girls program today via our Virgin Money page

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

 A Word from Syson- LTHT Menstrual Hygiene Ambassador 

 

You can also donate via PayPal



https://youtu.be/1neNW3flWYk

International Day of the Girl Child

11 October is International Day of the  Girl Child.. One of the reason we exist is to ensure that girls are not disadvantaged socially and economically because of their gender. Whilst I am happy to celebrate the Girl Child, I really wish we didn’t need days like this.

The reason for this is articulated by the UN

The world’s 1.1 billion girls are part of a large and vibrant global generation poised to take on the future. Yet the ambition for gender equality in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) highlights the preponderance of disadvantage and discrimination borne by girls everywhere on a daily basis. Only through explicit focus on collecting and analyzing girl-focused, girl-relevant and sex-disaggregated data, and using these data to inform key policy and program decisions, can we adequately measure and understand the opportunities and challenges girls face, and identify and track progress towards solutions to their most pressing problems…..

sewing class
Girls from our sewing class showing off the skirts they made as part of their homework

We have been doing some work with adolescent girls in Itojo district SW Uganda. These girls are not in employment, education or training , the so called NEETS   and form part the 14 Million young people in Uganda that are without a job due to lack of skills. The life outcomes for such girls are well documented but it doesn’t have to be that way.

We have shared with you the outcome of our Skills Development program for these girls and they have been learning about fashion design and the results are amazing

girl
From left to right: Ovious, Evas and Evelyne.

As part their training, the girls are provided with fabric to experiment and design something. At the end of  the first semester the girls were able to design a full outfit. As you can see from the photograph above they are now proficient in dress making.

Our aim with this program is to ensure that girls acquire skills they can use to either create their own employment or seek employment elsewhere.

We would like to offer this opportunity to many more such girls in Itojo Sub-county. You can support our efforts by making a donation to our fundraising at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/skills4girls

Menstrual Hygiene Management and the Girl Child

Access to hygienic menstrual absorbents has implications for the Girl child such as missing 2.6 days of school each month in the short term but in the long run this absenteeism may and does lead to girls dropping out of school altogether.

Our work on Menstrual Hygiene Management  in secondary schools in Ntungamo District in Uganda indicates that we have a long way to go to change outcomes for the Girl Child

NtungamoOn average:

  • 53% of the girls didn’t know what menstruation was before they experienced it
  • 61% of the girls have felt ashamed or embarrassed due to their periods
  • 42% of the girls miss days of school during their periods because they don’t have access to sanitary products
  • They miss 2.6 days of school a month which impacts negatively in their performance.
    Students change their sanitary products every 9 hours.

Ntungamo

Our team looked into how girls in Ntungamo secondary schools manage their periods and how they access to menstrual hygiene absorbents, and these are their findings;

  • 48% of the students feel bad or very bad during their MPs
  • 73% of the students use reusable pads but on average they change them every 9 hours which is not hygienic or healthy
  • 13% of the students use reusable sanitary pads at school and a cloth at home
  • 9.1% of the students use a cloth
  • 4.4% of the students use leaves, mattress stuffing, toilet paper or nothing at all

It is 2016 and the fact that this is still the situation in some of the schools means that we will need days like for sometime to come. But it does not have to be this way if we work together.

Help us make a difference by supporting our MHM work for as a little as £1.

  • £1 provides a girl one pod that include a napkin and a holder
  • £5 provides a girl a full kit
  • £10 provides two full kits
  • £20 provides 4 full kits

The pod and kits last for three years making this a cost effective way of managing periods. Please donate to our Sanitary Pads 4 Girls program today via our Virgin Money page

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

Menstrual Hygiene Management in Ntungamo secondary schools

On 28 May 2016, we launched a Menstrual Hygiene Management program (MHM)  in Ntungamo district SW Uganda  with a view to ensuring that women and girls manage their monthly period 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.

As part of the access to information aspect of  the program, our Program Manager and MHM Ambassadors  visited 12 secondary schools within Ntungamo district  SW Uganda over a course of 4 weeks. The team spoke with 1175 girls in all as well as some of their female teachers. Their findings are summarised below

sanitary towels

 

On average:

  • 53% of the girls didn’t know what menstruation was before they experienced it
  • 61% of the girls have felt ashamed or embarrassed due to their periods
  • 42% of the girls interviewed miss 2.6 days of school during their periods because they don’t have access to sanitary products which impacts negatively in their performance.
  • Students change their sanitary products every 9 hours.

Ntungamo

Our team looked into how girls in Ntungamo secondary schools manage their periods and how they access to menstrual hygiene absorbents, and these are their findings;

  • 48% of the students feel bad or very bad during their MPs
  • 73% of the students use reusable pads but on average they change them every 9 hours which is not hygienic or healthy
  • 13% of the students use reusable sanitary pads at school and a cloth at home
  • 9.1% of the students use a cloth
  • 4.4% of the students use leaves, mattress stuffing, toilet paper or nothing at all.

These findings are challenging to say the least.  We cannot allow this situation to persist as it has direct implications for poverty.

We want to offer these girls  a hygienic and sustainable  way to manage their periods. We also want to ensure that girls do not miss school days  because of a lack of access to menstrual absorbents.  We however cannot do this without your help  and you can make a difference for as a little as £1.

  • £1 provides a girl one pod that includes a napkin and a holder
  • £5 provides a girl a full kit
  • £10 provides two full kits
  • £20 provides 4 full kits

The pod and kits last for three years making this a cost effective way of managing periods. Please donate to our Sanitary Pads 4 Girls program today via our Virgin Money page

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

You can also donate via our paypal account


Menstrual Hygiene Management program is launched

The aim of our Menstrual Hygiene Management program is to ensure that girls and women manage their monthly period 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 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

 

 

Menstrual Hygiene Day

28 May is Menstrual Hygiene Day and this is something we started to look at in Ruhanga after I got a letter from one of our girls Elina Agaba. Elina is amongst the 15 girls from Team College Ruhanga that are taking part in bike repair initiative. Read more

International Day of the Girl: Agnes

Today is International Day of the Girl, it is therefore an ideal time to bring you an update on how the girls at Team College Ruhanga SW Uganda are getting on at the bike repair initiative.

Agnes s1
Agnes- Senior One Team College SW Uganda

 

Agnes is new at Team College and sent us this letter

I would like to express my gratitude to you and every one who donated the bicycle repairing kits and in particular your good friend Sally. Thanks for your support towards enabling us reach where we are now.

We are making a positive difference in our lives. Bicycles are now at the heart of our empowerment. We are excited as we can now ride and repair them. Having been walking a long distance to school daily. I am now able to ride to and from school on my own

We are grateful for all the help we are getting. Please accept our heart felt thanks for your concern and generosity.
Agnes S1

Agnes,Malion,George,Pricillar
Agnes,Malion,George,Pricillar

We asked George – Head Teacher at Team College to tell us about the initiative, its impact in the community as well as about the 15 girls who are currently participating in the scheme and this is what he had to say

Girls training as bicycle mechanics and riders is a new territory and very exciting in this community.

  • The 15 girls have got stories to tell and are reporting that the initiative is making a positive difference in their lives in as far as their education, health and income are concerned,
  • Their parents were so excited to see their daughters increased confidence and their ability to ride bicycles.
  •  As well as their academic achievements the girls  now have a life skill which they have gained in bicycle ridding and repairing.
  • Five  of the girls namely Scovia, Hope, Agnes, Shallot and Grace now ride to and from school. They previously walked  for 4 KM each way . We have also notice an improvement in their academic work
  •  Four  of the girls are still walking  to and from school as they do not own bikes yet.
  •  Six  of the girls that board at the school have started earning an income from their skills during the school holidays as well as at teh end of the school day and have been able to supplement their parent’s income, buy scholastic  materials most importantly access sanitary pads, lotions and underwear etc as opposed to relying on pocket money from parents  which was always not enough.
  • As a result 10 women from the community have also joined the initiative to learn how to ride and repair bikes, so we  need  a permanent working station. The village mainly depends on agriculture  and bikes are the main form of transport to get produce to market.

 

Naturally all this has been achieved with your support and for that we are grateful. We would like to formalise this initiative and would be grateful if you would please consider making a donation to help us along

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