Investing to end Period Poverty in Uganda
“It's not just about having pads,” Bukenya Muusa Founder and Program Director Volunteer Action Network, we must address knowledge gaps, taboos, and challenge complex social norms, also we should provide girl-friendly facilities to enable girl's privacy especially in schools?”
Nearly a quarter of Ugandan girls between the ages of 12 and 18 drop out of school when they begin menstruation, If nothing is done to end period poverty in Uganda, the country will struggle to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, Addressing the lack of access to menstrual health education and sanitary products plays a crucial role in achieving several of the 17 SDGs, from good health and quality education to gender equality and access to water and sanitation for all.
Stigma attached to menstruation or the inability to afford period products stops girls from going to school, putting them more at risk of entering child marriages, experiencing an early pregnancy, malnourishment, domestic violence, and pregnancy complications.
When girls in Uganda are on their periods, absenteeism is at 28% compared to 7% during non-period days, according to a Meniscus report by the BioMedical Centre.
To address this challenge Volunteer Action Network and Women's Global Empowerment Fund has invested in research and production of a locally made disposable sanitary pads (Lucky Girl pads product) which is of good quality, highly subsidized and are distributed for free to rural schools in Uganda.
Young girls in the production unit - Gulu
A pack of Lucky Girl Pads contains 8pads
Through the Healthy Periods Initiative we drive economic and socio-cultural change through enterprise and education. From a grassroots level, we inform, educate and provide resources to assist in the development of successful social enterprises that provide safe and sanitary resources for all women and girls in their communities.have set 2 production unities in Uganda. The initiative has distributed 1.8million pads and have reached 33,000 girls in Uganda and goal to support 100,000 girls by the end of 2020.
Our Valuable partnership has helped supported young girls in Amuru Northern Uganda with free sanitary pads and this valuable contribution has seen girls completing their primary schools for the first time. when girls stay in schools they are less likely to get pregnant or married before the age of 18 years, and studies have shown that one extra year of education for a girls raises family wages by 10-20%.
Acet Primary School girls rejoice with Lucky Girl Pads