"Access to Sanity Wear for 1000 Girls in Matobo" second quarter report
By Thelmah Nyirongo - Program Assistant
In the second quarter the “Access to Sanitary Wear for 1000 girls in Matobo” project continued with the Reusable sanitary pads’ solution. The project received two disbursements in the second quarter, the first one on the 21st of December 2018 of $342.72 and the second on the 21st of February 2018 of $425.00. Reusable pads are a more sustainable solution for the young girls in Matobo district as these may be used for over a year, unlike disposable pads that can only be used once leaving them in need of more. Of note however is that the economic crisis continues to affect the livelihoods of the people in Zimbabwe with prices of basic commodities going up on a daily basis. This project however has eased the burden on poor families and rural girls as they do not have to worry about where they will get the money to purchase sanitary wear on a monthly basis. The money is now being channelled to other things such as buying food for the family.
Training the girls on how to make the pads not only provides sanitary pads for them to use but also enables them to acquire a skill they can also use for income generation. The project managed to train a total of forty more girls on how to make reusable sanitary pads and on personal hygiene. The project team also conducted menstrual health training and Sexual Reproductive Health trainings at the weekly Sista2Sista group meeting. Sista2Sista groups are homogenous groups of girls and young women between the ages of 10 and 24 years that seek to create safe spaces for them to learn about sexual reproductive health in order to make informed decisions and stay safe and healthy.
The participants of the trainings were girls from disadvantaged backgrounds whose parents are not able to afford to buy sanitary pads every month for the girls. One of the participants said that her mother buys her pads on average once in four months and during the other months she uses rags and blanket cuttings that she was taught to hang in doors or somewhere concealed as it is taboo for other people to see these. This poses a health hazard as keeping these away from sunlight breeds bacteria and other harmful organisms. The participants were also trained on personal hygiene and how to take care of the sanitary pads they made. It is important for them to hang under direct sunlight until it is completely dry. The participants were happy to have made the pads and a follow ups are being conducted to find out their experiences on using the reusable pads.
Significant changes stories were collected from the girls who were trained in the first quarter. The trainings held in the first quarter were in partnership with the Securing Rights Program and the participants were not only trained on how to make reusable pads but on how to make soap too. Soap is an important component in personal hygiene and it is essential for the girls to always have soap to wash their reusable sanitary pads. Fifteen of the participants have reported that acquiring the skills has made a significant change in their lives. In an interview, one of the participants 22-year-old Sandisiwe Ndlovu, stated that the skills training had made a difference on her life. She had not acquired any skills after high school hence she saw the skills training as an opportunity to better herself. After the training she made more pads, not only for her use but to resale too, of note is that she has managed to save some money which she hopes to buy some small livestock like goats. She also gives back to her community by making sanitary pads for the orphaned children in her community. She is now economically empowered to better her life and the lives of others around her.
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