HOCIC under the GlobalGiving platform is implementing an initiative called “Access to sanitary wear for 100 girls”. This project seeks to ensure that 1000 girls and young women aged between 10 and 24 years do not miss out on school during their monthly menstrual period. This is achieved through the provision of proper sanitary wear and dignity packs to girls and young women in rural areas. The programme will also reduce the risk of vaginal infections and cervical cancer. The dignity pack contains either two packets of disposable sanitary pads, five panties and a bar of washing soap, or six reusable pads (two maxi, two medium and two small pads), a bag to store the clean pads, five panties and a bar of soap. The girls and young women are being taught on menstrual hygiene so as to enable them to use the sanitary wear properly. The long term impact of the project is to keep the girls in school and improve their performance. Education is central to well-being economic development and for bringing changes in the quality of lives for people.
During the last quarter, the team managed to hold a fundraising during the pink October breast cancer awareness. The organization had an in house staff wellness day mainstreaming breast cancer awareness. Presentations on how to minimize the risk of getting breast cancer as well as a quiz to test knowledge was conducted. During the proceedings of the day the GlobalGiving team managed to sell pink ribbons to the team and raised a total of 22usd. These funds will be used to plan an upcoming fundraising activity that aims to engage influential people so they could assist in the lobbying of funds to help the young girls with sanitary wear.
The team also reached out to small business owners to engage them on donations. In pursuant of this, the team received a pledge for 100 pads from a small company and they will be distributed to the disadvantaged young girls in Bulawayo.
INTRODUCTION GlobalGiving is an online crowd funding platform where HOCIC is raising funds. HOCIC is implementing the access to sanitary wear to sanitary wear to 1000 girls and young women aged between 10 to 24 years from Matobo and Bulawayo so that they do not miss school during their menstrual period. This is achieved through the provision of proper sanitary wear. Girls in rural areas are resorting to using cow dung for sanitary wear because its unaffordable. This increases the risk on cervical cancer and vaginal infections. The project also aims to teach the girls and young women on menstrual hygiene and also capacitate them on pad making for sustainability. ACTIVITIES HOCIC GlobalGiving team conducted a fundraising during the Menstrual Hygiene Day, with the objective of raising funds for the program. The fundraising was carried out at HOCIC offices. Numerous programs within the organization supported this initiative. The fundraising assisted in creating momentum for the GlobalGiving activities, which is to curb menstrual poverty among vulnerable communities of Matobo and Bulawayo. The sexual and reproductive health of adolescent girls and young women is of utmost importance as they can be susceptible to life threatening conditions like cervical cancer and vaginal infections. The fundraising managed to raise $21usd and 16 pads. GlobalGiving with the help of communications team set up a piggy bank donation booth by the reception, with the objective of raising more funds towards the program. Staff members have been receptive and support by making donations towards the cause. The project officer and project assistant also drafted and rolled out letters to potential donors and responses are yet to be received. With the objective of reaching out to a greater audience GlobalGiving embarked on creating awareness posters, with various message every week on menstrual health issues and menstrual stigma. The posters which include the GG Link are put on all HOCIC social media platforms. CHALLENGES • Late or no response from potential donors. • Lack of adequate funds. RECOMMENDATIONS • Ride on other programs which operate in the same areas. • More fundraising activities to raise more funds.
The Continued Covid induced Lockdowns in the Country continued driving the plight of Women and Young Girls in Matobo District into more challenging situations as income levels dropped due to the worsening macro-economic situations in the country. Matobo, a District punctuated by high levels of female unemployment, experiencing plunging economic outcomes as cross border trade, a major contributor to the local women’s economy was negatively affected. The status quo continues being a key driver of factors leading to women’s and Girls’ vulnerability both economically and socially.
During the last Quarter, program implementation areas experienced 10 cases of pregnancy among high school girls, all linked to artisanal miners. Cases of Sexual Violence and statutory rape were also reported in the program areas. This was due to the increase in the number of unregulated illegal gold mining in the area by artisanal miners. the law enforcement agents seem to be turning a blind eye to the situation as perpetrators are not brought to justice and continue inciting acts of sexual violence to vulnerable Women and Girls. Often the offenders who impregnant minors are highly mobile and move on to other mining areas, leaving the girls and their families (who are often very poor) to take care of the children. The waiting young Waiting mothers need preparation kits and sanitary wear to use after delivery.
During the Quarter, the HOCIC team managed to reach Young Women and girls through comprehensive sexual health education in conjunction with the National AIDS Council. 100 young women and Girls in Secondary and tertiary institutions were sensitized on Sexual Hygiene, Accessing Sexual Reproductive Health Services and Condom Use education. During the Seminar, Girls also noted the challenges that they face such the continuous rising cost of female health amenities especially to unemployed young women and girls.
In the coming Quarter, HOCIC envisages to continue fundraising for the Pad Drive through the GlobalGiving Platform. The team also plans to carry out operational research on how to reduce the cost of Pads and Sanitary Wear for Girls in Rural Zimbabwe. HOCIC believes that sanitary wear should be easily accessible to all Women and Girls. HOCIC will also continue to train Young Women and Girls on sustainable low capital Livelihoods and Business in order to increase their self-reliance.
The advent of COVID19 and resulting lockdowns has unfortunately seen an increase of pregnant teenagers in Zimbabwe. At one secondary school in Matobo District where the project is being implemented; when schools re-opened after lockdown the headmaster reported that at least 40 girls were pregnant. This highlights the sexual abuse that is ongoing and which sems to have escalated during lockdowns. Most parents and caregivers lost their jobs and source of livelihood during COVID19. There has also been an increase of illegal gold miners in Matobo who are being accused of impregnating the girls. Unfortunately, the illegal gold miners do not stay in one place for long, they are not being arrested as they leave as soon as they have committed a crime. The parents and caregivers on the other hand are being blamed for sending the young girls to the illegal gold mines to sale different wares in order to get an income. The innocent girls then fall prey to the miners who lure them with money and they are sexually abused. Once pregnant they fail to locate the offenders. The girls being from poor families cannot afford to buy any baby preparation stuff or sanitary wear to use soon after delivering the baby.
Through the pad drive, the HOCIC team managed to procure and get menstrual hygiene items which included 60 dignity kits (disposable pads and cotton wool, soap and towels), then proceeded to distribute these to the pregnant teenage girls in Matobo. Besides the dignity kits, the girls got Baby Preparation material such as baby blankets, baby dishes, buckets, thermometers and baby clothes. After the distributions a dialogue followed on encouraging the girls to go back to school, they were urged not to be school drop-out as having an education and a career would help them secure a brighter future despite what would have happened to them now. The girls noted the challenges they are facing as pregnant teens, some had already given birth and they stated challenges of having sources of income to support their young babies. They then suggested that skills training in various livelihoods like Dressmaking, Hairdressing, Art and Craft and Detergents would be welcome as it would also help them have some income generating projects. The distributions followed strict COVID 19 regulations.
In the coming quarter, the team envisages to continue with the pad drive campaign and is appealing to the GlobalGiving Donors to continue supporting the initiative as they are making a difference. Moreover, the team plans to do more sustainable initiatives such as procuring reusable sanitary pads, training the young girls to make reusable pads and training the girls on different livelihood skills and to start up small businesses so they become
In the month of July, the GlobalGiving team continued with the pad drive initiative to raise funds and purchase sanitary ware. Through the pad drive, the team managed to procure and secure menstrual hygiene items which included ninety-three packets of disposable sanitary pads, forty-four face towels and fifty green bars of soap (thereafter menstrual hygiene kit). The team then proceeded to identify 30 adolescent girls from Matobo district in Ward 1 (Sihwaba Village) who are economically disadvantaged and were assisted. The Community Facilitator assisted in the identification of these young girls.
The Project Officer had a discussion with the adolescent girls before distributing the menstrual hygiene kits. The discussion was centred on life choices, menstrual hygiene, COVID 19 and the vaccine. The young girls were very vocal and despite the challenges they are currently facing they seem to have hopes and dreams they want to achieve. Some want to become nurses, businesswomen, farmers, teachers to mention but a few. The Project Officer encouraged and motivated them that they could become whatever they want if they put their mind and heart to it. She further reminded them to unite, love and support each other as girls as it is the only way to conquer the world.
During the menstrual hygiene discussion, it was noted that indeed the girl child faces triple the challenges or obstacles before they even try to manoeuvre the world. For example, an individual who comes from a disadvantaged background cannot afford to purchase sanitary ware and even other necessities for them to utilise during their menstrual month cycle. Some of the girls indicated that they had to abscond from school during their “time of the month” because of lack of proper sanitary ware, period pains and the general feeling of being “unclean”. Moreover, some use old cloths which are unhealthy especially when they are dyed, not washed, and stored well as it may cause irritation or cancer. Therefore, the hygiene kits they received were going to go a long way and they appreciated the gesture. Each girl managed to walk away with three packets of sanitary pads, a face towel and a bar of soap.
The negative impacts of the Corona Virus have been felt by all corners of the globe. Information about the Corona Virus and its vaccine has been disseminated through radio stations, news, newspapers, the internet, social media, posters and community dialogues. The young girls have heard about the Corona Virus and the vaccine however, there are still sceptical when it comes to the safety of the vaccine. The team managed to share the benefits of getting vaccinated and emphasized that it was their choice to decide whether they would want to get it or not. The Project Officer closed the discussion with a popular saying “prevention is better than cure”.
In the next coming month, the team envisages continuing with the pad drive campaign and is appealing to the GlobalGiving Donors to continue supporting the initiative as they are making a difference. No amount is too small or too big, as it goes a long way. Moreover, the team plans to do more sustainable initiatives such as procuring reusable sanitary pads, training the young girls to make reusable pads, supporting the young girls to start up small businesses so they become economically independent.
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