Investing in period-friendly schools to protect girls’ futures:
It is estimated that, as a consequence of the pandemic, 24million children worldwide may not return to school.
Our partners have reported that current economic struggles have pushed families to send their girls into prostitution or early marriage, and recent reports from the district of Kumi, Eastern Uganda, have recorded teenage pregnancies across 73% of state schools.
We are building on our comprehensive approach to ending Period Poverty – investing in provision, infrastructure, knowledge, and challenging stigma:
- Providing washable sanitary pads to pupils of menstrual age
- Supporting teachers to equip their pupils with knowledge on menstrual health, hygiene and reproduction
- Building privacy-screened changing facilities to enable girls to manage their periods without embarrassment
Re-usable Sanitary Pads
The cost of supplying sanitary products can stop families sending their girls to school.
Studies done by our partners pre-COVID reported 84% of schoolgirls did not have regular access to sanitary products and many resorted to creative methods, such as cutting up pieces of their mattress, in an attempt to stay in school during their periods.
Our partners manufacture washable sanitary pads in Kumi, designed for use in rural communities, and supply these to school pupils.
Menstrual Health, Hygiene & Sex Ed.
A recent report from the District Health Office indicated that only 20% of the region’s teachers had received training on delivering Menstrual Health and Sexual Reproductive Health education – the majority of which were trained by T4U.
In our culture you can’t speak about sex in public. In our culture you cannot do a demonstration like how you are supposed to protect a young girl who is receiving her periods. But […] what we have been showed [today] can help us speak to the young ones and make them understand that this is information that is very beneficial to them.
Olupot Patrick Epudu, Youth Leader at South Teso Pentecostal Assemblies of God.
We’re committed to equipping teachers with the tools and resources on how to implement a factual menstrual health and reproductive sexual health curriculum, enabling pupils to make informed choices about their bodies, whilst challenging harassment, shame and stigma.
As part of the training, we challenge harmful norms that often restrict girls and women participating within society.
Interviews with school pupils, regardless of gender, frequently described periods as ‘dirty’, ‘shameful’, and that girls should be excluded from community events, including Places of Worship, whilst on their periods.
The onset of menstruation has also been cited as a signal to boys and men, that a girl is sexually available, which greatly increases her risk of unprotected sex and sexual violence.
We’ve developed specific ‘myth-busting’ lesson plans to help pupils explore many of these misconceptions, and look at the facts and religious texts (where appropriate) behind them.
As a result, we have recorded a significant reduction in instances of period-shaming and harassment in schools that have participated in teaching Sexual Reproductive and Menstrual Health to their pupils.
83% of schools across Kumi do not have changing facilities, which are often referred to as necessary for girls’ to have privacy and space to handle menstruation, away from peering eyes, and dark, cramped and smelly latrines.
Through construction partners, Sanitation Africa Ltd, we are building double washrooms with internal sinks and taps, a privacy wall, rain-water collection tank (capable of manual filling in the dry season) and waste-disposal (for non-reusable sanitary products).
91% of rural Uganda does not have access to plumbed water, therefore relying on rain-water collection, bore wells and underground springs.
We invest in improving school sanitation provision by installing handwashing facilities outside latrines, and have recorded a 27% drop in diarrhoeal-related school absence as a result.
All our period-friendly schools will have these handwashing facilities in place.
Help ensure pupils attend a period-friendly school:
Wales and Africa Emergency COVID Response
Our first 10 schools have been funded through the Welsh Government’s Wales and Africa Grant Scheme, as part of supporting safe transition of girls back into schools after extended closures due to Covid-19. We were also delighted to have been awarded with funding to install life-saving water into 8 health facilities providing free healthcare to a catchment area of approximately 2.5million people.