Access to Sanitary Wear for 1000 Girls in Matobo

by Hope for a Child in Christ (HOCIC)
Access to Sanitary Wear for 1000 Girls in Matobo
Access to Sanitary Wear for 1000 Girls in Matobo
Access to Sanitary Wear for 1000 Girls in Matobo
Access to Sanitary Wear for 1000 Girls in Matobo
Access to Sanitary Wear for 1000 Girls in Matobo
Access to Sanitary Wear for 1000 Girls in Matobo
A pregnant young woman receiving cotton wool
A pregnant young woman receiving cotton wool

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

Pregnant teens waiting for baby preparation stuff
Pregnant teens waiting for baby preparation stuff
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A pose from a happy recipient of the dignity pack.
A pose from a happy recipient of the dignity pack.

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.

Young lady contributing to the COVID 19 discussion
Young lady contributing to the COVID 19 discussion
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In the second quarter, the HOCIC GlobalGiving team purchased sanitary wear for 21 young youngs in a bid to conduct a pad drive in commemoration of World Menstrual Hygiene Day. The team worked with organizations such as Voice of Youth and Children Trust (VOYACT) and Afriprime. The team also conducted a WhatsApp dialogue with adolescent girls on the importance of menstrual hygiene. The young girls were enlightened on the dangers which are accompanied by poor self-hygiene when one is in her menstrual cycle. It is of paramount importance to highlight that the Covid-19 pandemic has left young girls susceptible to life-threatening conditions like cervical cancer as they cannot afford sanitary wear which can assist them to not contract such infections. There were 50 participants who attended the WhatsApp dialogue. The team worked with Self Help Group which is a program under HOCIC. Notable is that the team made a donation to a young adolescent girl in Bulawayo who lives inLobengula. The young girl living with her unemployed father. She lost her mother when she was giving birth to her young brother. Therefore she is staying with a father who is not employed and a stepmother. This team made a donation of 8 packs of sanitary wear, a bar of soap, and a face towel. The young girl showed her gratitude by thanking the HOCIC GlobalGiving team for their kind gesture and how this will assist her as she goes back to school. The young girl highlighted to the team that she would sometimes skip classes at school because she did not have proper sanitary wear. To add to this, she reported that there were occasions where she would improper materials which at the end can cause vaginal infections. It is worth mentioning that the team is still working towards the Padrive and they are doing so through collecting more donations of sanitary wear from well-wishers. The sanitary wear is aimed at improving the menstrual health of adolescent girls from Matobo and Bulawayo.

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In the quarter under review, the HOCIC GlobalGiving team received a sanitary wear donation from the Angels Foundation Zimbabwe on the 5th of December 2020 .The donation included packs of 25 disposable and 248 reusable sanitary wear.. It is worth mentioning that this donation contributed immensely in driving the vision of the GlobalGiving program which is to end menstrual poverty among adolescent girls and young women. The team distributed the disposable sanitary wear at Ngozi mine Squatter camp during the Ngozi mine Kitchen soup Week. It is of paramount importance to highlight that Ngozi mine is home to Bulawayo‘s largest rubbish dump which is the final destination for the tons of waste the city produces every day, and also home to over 300 homeless households (approximately 1000 individuals). It is further stipulated that most of the community lives on less than USD$1, 25 per day. The community also lacks easy access to basic health, education and sanitation services. As a consequence this shows that the reproductive health of adolescent girls and young women is not a major concern and therefore this leaves them susceptible to life threatening conditions such as cervical cancer, vaginal thrush and vaginal infections. Therefore in response to this the GlobalGiving team distributed disposable sanitary wear.

In the month of January 2021 the team held a virtual monitoring exercise with the 20 Sista2Sista girls from Matobo ward 11 due to Covid-19 National lockdown. It is of paramount importance to highlight that the adolescent girls had been equipped with skills to make reusable sanitary wear in the last quarter by the GlobalGiving team. In a bid to understand different challenges young girls are succumbing to during the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the girls were asked if they are able to purchase sanitary wear and most of them responded by saying that they could not afford and also they were highly in need of sanitary wear and soap to maintain their reusable sanitary wear hygienically clean. In response to this the team distributed 160 reusable sanitary wear at Matobo Ward 11 in February and the beneficiaries were the 20 Sista2ista girls. The activity was set in motion by giving the young girls a session on menstrual health and how they have to maintain the sanitary wear hygienically clean at all times. The team also attended a webinars which mainly focused on building cross border relations and how to structure a grant proposal. The major take home from the session of building cross border relations was that this builds trust for the organization with other stakeholders. The session on structuring a grant proposal the major take home was that the projects objectives are clearly stated, referencing on all facts stated and presenting an accurate budget.


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In the quarter under review, the Access to Sanitary ware project team worked on Youth Casts in partnership with the Gold Youth peer to peer and Shoes2school. This initiative aimed to discuss issues that affect the youth in the form of podcasts that were recorded in one of the local languages which is Ndebele and English. The Youth Casts were facilitated by the Access to Sanitary ware program team who engaged with youths from various sectors. The Access to Sanitary wear team also went to Maphisa ward 11 to conduct a reusable pads training with 20 young women aged between 15 to 20. The training was conducted by a HOCIC community facilitator and she encouraged the young women to practice hygiene and not use dirty cloths and denim material as pads as these could expose them to vaginal infections. The HOCIC team also donated face masks to the young ladies and encouraged them to stay safe and move around only when it’s necessary. The team plans to hold a monitoring visit and also have another training in Maphisa, funds permitting.
The Access to Sanitary ware team successfully conducted a car wash fundraising event. The car wash was conducted from 21st to the 22nd of October 2020.The funds raised are for conducting the monitoring visit in Maphisa Ward 11. The total of $172 USD was raised from the event. It is important to note that other programs within the organization also contributed to make the fundraising a success. This includes Urban Food Assistance and Livelihoods, HOCIC Admin who assisted with refreshments to sale for the fundraising, Securing Rights Program, Lean Season Assistance brought in their cars for a Car wash

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Organization Information

Hope for a Child in Christ (HOCIC)

Location: Bulawayo - Zimbabwe
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @HocicZimbabwe
Project Leader:
Sunga Mzeche
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
$3,281 raised of $7,624 goal
 
51 donations
$4,343 to go
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