Develop with dignity – 2020 update

2020 update on the Develop with Dignity project. Developing a Supportive and Inclusive Environment for Schoolgirls aged 12-19 in Kumi, Uganda.

Since starting our Develop with Dignity program (providing washable sanitary pads and underwear to schoolgirls to enable them to stay in school during their periods) we’ve learnt how challenging education can be for many school girls.

Few had been educated to expect their periods and many of them didn’t know why girls have periods. Even though the Kumi district has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Uganda, the majority of girls were unaware of the dangers of unprotected sex and were fearful of using contraception (even if they knew where to get it).

In response to this Teams4U have been awarded two grants from UK Aid Direct and the Wales and Africa Grant Scheme to help tackle some of the misconceptions around menstrual and sexual health.

To date these grants have enabled us to run a Train the Trainers project, educating 186 teachers, 109 nurses, 155 religious leaders and 180 representatives from local Parent Teacher Associations on attitudes to menstruation, sexual health and the importance of tackling these taboos to protect their children.

“Family planning is not there to kill but for our development”

Catechist, Oseera Catholic Church

Whats the impact?

Since the beginning of this project we have spoken to over 400 pupils about attitudes and stigma around periods. 55% reported that they’d had a lesson on their menstrual and/or sexual health in school (in contrast to zero before this project started) and we’ve recorded a 48% shift in how pupils describe periods. Instead of labelling menstruation as a “curse from God” or “sickness” , they are now describing it as “normal” and part of a girl’s healthy reproductive system.

“I have learnt that family planning is good knowledge to be passed to the church and menstruation is normal in girls, not [a] sickness”

Senior Pastor, Pentecostal Assemblies of God