Empower African Girls with Hygiene and Education

May 14, 2013

Lift a girl. Lift a Nation. The change you are making in Africa for a girl... times thousands

Joan training girls in Uganda
Joan training girls in Uganda
 It's contagious, the knowledge that you have been making possible for girls and women in Africa. The additional days of more health, dignity, productivity and education made possible by your sponsored Days for Girls kits are adding up. Even the confidence that Days for Girls kits make posible, it's all contagious and expanding thanks to you.
Your support is making it possible for girls to have the important hygiene kits that help them stay in school AND for young leaders to be trained and have resources to get supplies to girls. Young women like Joan N in nothern Uganda who was trained to be an Ambassador of Women's Health and now teaches girls in her nation about menstruation, health, hygiene and how to make kits. Here's her report and a photo of her teaching in her community under the shade of a tree. "I conducted training in Kumi district. It was very interesting and the girls also liked it. Thank you for the skill you gave us, now we can stay at school even in our days which was difficult before." Anne K. responded to news of Joan's efforts by thanking YOU. She says,"Thank you SO much for investing in Joan's training and the supplies/kits you so generously donated to this group of girls in Uganda. This group of girls is one that's close to my family's heart and we are so glad to have learned about DFG." Real women. Real girls who have more dignity, more knowledge, more opportunities. Your support is working.
Thanks to your donations, many women trained to be Ambassadors of Women's Health are reaching girls and women in remote communities of Uganda and Zimbabwe. These rural communities have limited opportunities for education and lack many basic services, your support and new partnerships are empowering hygiene and health education for thousands, thanks to you. Days for Girls is now working to provide supplies and education people would not otherwise receive without your support.
Last summer we went to Uganda, Kenya and Zimbabwe to conduct training for over 100 women to become Ambassadors of Women's Health so they could reach out to break cycles of shame and limitation by sharing menstrual hygiene managment  education and how to make their own washable femiine hygiene kits. We were on a shoestring budget and trusting those we worked with to be the leaders we knew they could be for their communities. Since then your support started making it possible for more and more resources and training to reach them. Thousands of girls now have kits and more every day.  In addition, sewing cooperatives are able to have more work for those they train, giving much needed employment as well, all while providing more dignity and opportunity for girls. The Ugandan DfG team is putting systems and partnerships in place to scale up. But that doesn't help you to see the tremendous change you are effecting. You see, your support is about the multiplier effect. What you are making possible is women (and men) helping women and girls, and the shaping and proving a model that can be replicated and scaled, and that is big. But it is more than that, it is about the girls.
One girl, her story, times thousands. Girls like Kgotso, an 11 year old Zimbabean girl who has taken it upon herself to teach other girls in her school to make Days for Girls kits. She says, "I no longer consider myself an orphan. I am a leader."  Or Sharon in Gulu, Uganda, who is also an orphan living with her grandmother. She reports that before she recieved her kit she had to ask her grandmother for "Always" money, which would upset her grandmother because she did not have the money. So then Sharon would ask a neighbor because she did not want to miss school. Her neighbor would sometimes help but Sharon would wear the disposable so long that it would create blisters and hurt. Now that she has a Days for Girls kit she says she doesn't have to ask for what she needs and they are soft and comfortable so she doesn't get sores anymore.  There are many, many more girls, thanks to you.
Olivia, the director of DfG Uganda reports, "We humbly submit that we had a chance of forming clubs and identfyng Ambassdors in the Mukono District, Gomba District and Maddu District and one community in Mutundwe in Kampala. Introducing Days for Girls in schools both in Primary and Secondary schools. St. Ann primary school, Nakibano primary school, Umea Islamic school, where we conducted a health education on how to keep proper hygiene and how to stay in school, free from distruction of having issues concerning menstrual periods and shared the importance of washable kits and how effective they are in our daily needs." Many have received kits but others are waiting for more fabric for more kits. And it is on its way to them thanks to DfG supporters like you, and they were recently able to purchase local fabric as well to make kits for those schools and more.
In Zimbabwe two individuals would not take no for an answer as they reached out to their communities and instructed with the knowledge they had gained. They also had the leadership of a Governor who embraced Days for Girls with enthusiasm. Those two, one a woman and one the first ever male Ambassador of Women's Health, are on course to cover their entire district. They have covered 27 schools, and reported reaching thousands of individuals.

From the 27 schools covered 50 students were selected to represent their respective schools and were trained. Several women from the community were selected to take part in this exercise and were trained too.
Also there’s women’s groups that, using in part the knowledge and fabric resources that you made possible, are also making pads in Lupane. This group applied for grants and loans to forward their efforts to make pads.  Since January they have managed to make 200 kits of which the Manager of the centre says, “It’s quite an achievement considering the fact that it’s the farming season.” During the farming season most households would rather put their focus and energy on farming since its their source of livelihood and in countries like Zimbabwe women are the backbone of farming. They did this with the PUL fabric DFG supporters like you provided.  Now they are requesting more fabric and funding for fabric.

 It's breathtaking to consider all that is possible. World peace... One pad at a time. DfGI will be taking more fabric and resources to the teams in Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Kenya (as well as Zambia and Malawai) this Summer and gathering their stories and results. That fabric and needed resources will be there, in part because of YOUR support. 

Thank you!

Their own kits thanks to Joan... and DfG supporter
Their own kits thanks to Joan... and DfG supporter
Kgotso-- she
Kgotso-- she's the smallest girl in the photo


Feb 11, 2013

Headed to Uganda to Train the Trainers


We're gearing up to head to Uganda! By the time you get this, we'll be gone. Thanks to your support we will be taking additional fabric that they can not purchase there (and exploring further with dignitaries how to mnake that fabric available in Uganda). We'll distribute kits for two schools while there. The Lions Club of Harborview sent reading glasses for those going without (How can you sew if you can't see?). And... vitally, to train the trainers. What does that mean? We will teach Ugandan Regional Representatives to instruct women all over Uganda to train others to be Ambassadors of Women's Health: A national network of women sewing kits, empowering to teach about health, hygiene, reproductive health, menstrual health management and of course to distribute kits. This is it! Taking the national dignity model to the next level so it can be applied worldwide. And it's all thanks to you!  You'll be with us in our hearts, because YOU chose to be a champion for girls with us.

You should see the girl's faces when they receive kits. I hope you can come someday. They are so grateful. The last time we were there a girl in Gulu, Uganda said when she was asked if her kit would really change anything, "We will no longer have to fear." Thanks to you more girls will have more dignity, more safety, less distraction at school and yes, less fear. For that matter, without your support, she might not have been able to stay in class at all. It never ceases to amaze me that such a simple, direct solution improves so much for girls around the globe. Thank you for being an important part of the solution.

If anyone asks what you made possible, tell them that YOU and Days for Girls International are creating a more dignified, humane and sustainable world for girls. Tell them that women and girls trained to be Ambassadors discover their potential and self-value, are equal participants and agents of social change and are given opportunities to thrive, grow and contribute to their community’s betterment while ensuring quality sustainable feminine hygiene. THAT is what you are making possible. There is more: By proving the model and creating important partnerships we can reach every girl. Everywhere. Period. One girl at a time. Thanks in part to you.

We'll keep you posted!

Now, let's just hope the snow in the East has passed by the time we get there so our layover doesn't become a REALLY long stay.

With Gratitude,



Dec 18, 2012

You did it!


Did you hear? Days for Girls International is a brand new Nike Girl Effect Champion for 2013 thanks to you! What does that mean? Greater awareness of the consequences to girls and women worldwide going without menstrual health management (MHM). Because with awareness comes momentum for change.  And important funding to reach more girls worldwide. In fact, your support added up to more than $15,000 in November. That is a lot of girls, training and supplies. Thanks to you. In addition it adds up to PR support from the Girl Effect, as well as additional funding. All of that means more girls celebrating more days of education, health, and dignity.  We are still grinning ear to ear at all that you helped make possible. Can you blame us for sending you a standing ovation of thanks?

Now empowerment is already on the move: 2,000 yards of PUL, the speciality fabric required for the moisture barrier in kits, has been ordered and is headed to Kenya and from there some to Uganda and Zimbabwe. 2,000 yards! That adds up to 40,000 shields. Thanks to you. Seriously big impact. And the next training for Uganda Representatives that train Ambassadors of Women's Health is funded so the in-country pilot there can be furthered. From there it can be scaled worldwide. Kit supplies are being gathered for Kenya, Uganda, Malawa, and Zimbabwe. Can you feel the momentum? The thousands and thousands of girls and women having more days of freedom, more days of education, more days of empowering their communities, families and friends.

How much impact is your support giving? It is changing the world. You see, when you empower girls and women, they stand up for their communities, they pass the good on, they empower those around them. Last Fall in Zimbabwe a shy woman named Grace was one of the 50 being trained to be an Ambassador of Women's Health. I had wondered why her  Chief had selected her out of all of the candidates to come train from her region and when I saw her tiny perfect hand stitches it became apparent. This woman has real skills. But it was the next moment that took my breath away. She looked up at me and said quietly, "This is going to change our world."  Or 11 year old Kgotso (pronounced Go-tso) that learned how to make kits and went on to teach the girls in her school to make them. Kgotso no longer considers herself an orphan, but a leader now. I wish you could see all of their faces. The smiles, the hope, the joy. Lives change thanks to your support. 

We'll report more soon, but we just had to share the results of your donations. Thank you for joining us in championing for girls. You did it!

With gratitude,


About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?


Project Leader

Celeste Mergens

Lynden, WA United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Empower African Girls with Hygiene and Education