Managing menstrual hygiene in low income countries like Uganda continues to be a challenge due to lack of proper hygiene products and adequate sanitary facilities. Uganda is predominantly poor with most of its citizens living below the poverty line.
Studies in Uganda have found that many girls struggle to attend and do well in school due to inadequate resources to manage their periods. Lack of education means that teachers, communities, and families do not have understanding of menstruation, and do not understand how to support girls to improve school attendance. A study conducted in Rukungiri among girls in 6 primary schools indicated that 61.7% of the girls missed at least one day of school per month due to menstruation. The primary reason for missing school was that there was no private place for girls to wash and change at school, followed by fear of staining their clothes. The last reasons were due to discomfort or pain.
In commemoration of Women’s day 2022 – The AFRIpads Foundation, the charitable arm of AFRIpads, donated 100 Schoolgirl Kits and AFRIpads Underwear worth over UGX 2,800,000, which will last the beneficiaries 12 months. In line with the 2022 International Women’s Day of “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, AFRIpads provided these disadvantaged teenagers and young mothers with a sustainable and dignified menstrual health solution.
Gertrude Emojong, National Marketing and Communications Lead, at AFRIpads, said:
“To celebrate International Women Day’s 2022 theme of: “gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, we decided to give back to the community of teenagers and young mothers at Naguru Teenage Information and Centre (NTIHC). We believe that empowering teenage mothers is an important task, particularly in light of the alarming increase of teenage pregnancies in relation to COVID-19. We have partnered with the Naguru Teenage Information and Health Centre to provide a long-lasting menstrual health and hygiene solution to 100 teenage girls.”
“The AFRIpads Schoolgirl kit has been developed through user-centered design in collaboration with school-aged girls, with the aim of creating a set of reusable pads that best meet the needs and preferences of this age group. We are passionate in enabling girls to overcome menstrual barriers so they can achieve their full potential.”
Mr. Asiimwe Sam, the –Naguru Teenage Information and Health Centre program manager Said:
The partnership with AFRIpads comes in at the right time when teenagers and young mothers are struggling with menstrual hygiene challenges and most of which were have been fueled by COVID19. NTIHC has for the past 27 years been supported young people in Uganda to access youth friendly sexual and reproductive health services – over 4.7 million Young girls have been reached to date. With presence in 33 public health centers now – and with over 33 active youth clubs in central and west Nile, NTIHC is looking at utilizing these current partnerships to address the appalling issues of adolescents and young mothers. We hope to work with Africa’s more to meet the menstrual health needs of the young girls under our support.
AFRIpads has been a pioneer of Menstrual Health and Hygiene (MHH) in Uganda since the organization’s inception in 2010. It has grown beyond locally manufacturing reusable sanitary pads in Masaka, Uganda to providing a complete MHH solution that includes products, an MHH Education Toolkit, and a comprehensive Data Collection Toolkit. To date, they have reached over 3.5 million women and girls and employ over 150 women in its factory in Masaka.