EMPOWERING 800 SCHOOL GIRLS HYGIENE IN LILONGWE

by Building Futures
EMPOWERING 800 SCHOOL GIRLS HYGIENE IN LILONGWE
A girl talk session with at Falls Secondary School
A girl talk session with at Falls Secondary School

INTRODUCTION

Go for girls project aims at Retaining girls in school by providing them with hygienic sanitary pads. Affordable and hygienic sanitary protection is not available to many girls in school. They resort to the use of unhygienic rags which puts them at risk of infections. Statistics shows that girls do not attend classes 4-5 days a month or dropout completely because they do not have good sanitary equipment which they can use and remain in school as they are menstruating

                           

PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION

During the last quarter, the government of Malawi temporarily closed schools for almost 2 months due to the drastic rise in the number of Covid19 cases. This made it hard for us to execute the monthly planned activities because the activities that we conduct depend on the school calendar. As you are aware; Go for girls is a project that targets school girls to be in school even when they are in their menstrual periods by basically providing them with re-usable sanitary pads and having talks with them on issues that surround them. The girls also attend trainings on mask sewing so that they get the long term knowledge and skills in sewing.

Below is a brief summary of the activities that we managed to do.

 

Girl Talk

Girl talk is simply a focus group discussion with female students. During these discussions we tackle different issues such as HIV related issues, carrier guidance and counseling. During these discussion the students are given chance to ask questions that bothers them and issues that stresses them. The girl talk sessions are conducted in all the 8 targeted secondary schools from Lilongwe

The corona virus pandemic made some girls to give up on school as they were on a very long break that resulted in early marriages, unwanted pregnancies hence an increase in school dropout rate. This made BFM to schedule for Girl talk sessions.

In October and November, 2020 I had a girl talk session at Falls Secondary school. Most girls attended the session and they were very interactive through their openness in presenting situation they are going through and asking questions. Among other things, the session centered much on thanking them for taking care of themselves while schools were closed and encouraging them to work hard in school even if the schools have been on and off, career guidance and HIV related issues.

This is one of the activities where we provide carrier guidance, counseling health and HIV related issues amongst school girls in secondary school where the project is implemented.

In the Month of October we managed to visit Falls Secondary school where we had session with the girls. Their participation was very good; they were opening up, commenting and asking questions on different issues affecting a school girl child.

 

Assisting school girls at KAps with Sanitary pads

Go for girls’ project assist school girls at KAps Schools with Sanitary pads as others do come to school not well prepared for their menses. There is no need for them to go back home because their monthly period has started, we provide them with sanitary pads and let them continue to attend classes, this is One of the main goals of the project- attaining girls in school.

However, our main challenge is transportation since the targeted schools are in rural areas. Visiting them frequently has never been possible due to lack of resources to carter for that.

 

CONCLUSION

The programme of retaining girls in school is going on well and we would like to thank you so much for your endless support to Building Futures in Malawi that has fostered implementation of the project. You have changed lives for some Malawian girls and we hope to see the girls successful in future. Go for girls project will continue with its activities and we hope to reach as many girls as possible

The reusable sanitary pads
The reusable sanitary pads
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Girls and women showcasing the face mask they made
Girls and women showcasing the face mask they made

GO FOR GIRLS                        

Due to the wide spread of coronavirus cases, the government of Malawi closed schools in March 2020 as a way of controlling the virus from spreading. During the period of school closure, a lot of girls were affected in one way or the other. Research shows that there has been a tremendous rise in cases of early pregnancy and early marriages among teenagers which ruins their future.

As a way of rescuing the girls from these misconducts, Building Futures in Malawi through Go for Girls project Introduced some programs and provided training to the beneficiaries who were young girls from different areas of Lilongwe. Below are the programs:

Making reusable face masks: continuing from our last report, girls are still being trained on how to make reusable face masks. The overall goal is to impart them with the necessary knowledge and skills for their benefit and the benefit of others. It is mandatory for everyone to wear a face mask when going to the public, so face mask sewing made them busy and focused thereby staying away from bad influencers. A total number of 75 girls attended the training.

Girls Talk: Having noticed that many Girls got married and others impregnated due to lack of advice and counselling during the Covid-19 pandemic, the project continues to hold meetings with girls from different areas through churches. The main aim is to encourage them to abstain from sex, drug abuse and other behaviors that can ruin their future. They are also advised to keep studying and not to give up on school because education is key to success.

Distribution of masks

Besides the girls training on how to make the face masks, the project also distributed reusable face masks to churches, markets and randomly to different individuals. The approach was very important because many people, especially in the rural areas could not afford to buy a single mask.

I just want to take this moment to thank you for the support that you give to this organization and this project, God bless you. 

Giving facemask to people in chiwamba village
Giving facemask to people in chiwamba village

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Girls being taught how to make re usable face mask
Girls being taught how to make re usable face mask

Dear Friends

 

It has been a while since you heard from us, alot has happened in the past 4 months including the Covid 19 pandemic which has affected the world rapidly but we thank God that we have continued our work and mostly thanks to you for your suppport.

 

Re usable Sanitary Pads

In 2020 we planed to add in more girls to the program more expecially from  schools from the rural communities where the need is great. we have add 1 more school called Minga Community Secondary school. Our goal is to support 200 girls in the schools that we work with. The implementation program started very well in February but we got interupted because of the Corona virus pandemic. Here in Malawi schools were closed in March which made it difficult for us to do our work. Since then the schools have not yet re open but we are hoping that they will re open soon. At Minga school we have managed to teach 15 students how to make the re usable pads. we still continue to work at Kaps Model school. 

 

Girls talk day orientation 

In March we had a conference at Minga School where we had a girls talk day which is a special day and our project officer spent that day talking to girls discussing issues that affects them on a daily basis. Some of the issues that were talked about included Sex, HIV/Aids and Health and Hygiene. 50 girls attended the conference. 

 

Covid 19 response 

During this Covid 19 pandemic, we have taken an approach of going out to different local markets and churches teaching people about how they can prevent themselves from the virus and we are also teaching them how to make re usable face mask. Our main focus is teaching girls and women how to make the face mask, There has been more cases arrising that girls are getting married and pregnant because of the closure of the schools as they are not keeping themselves busy. Our approach helps the girls to get involved in doing something rather than just staying at home. After they learn how to make the face mask they can start a small business of making the mask and selling them in their community which is one way of impowering the girls with more skills and also to help sustain themselves. We have managed to teach 35 girls and women in Chiwamba churches and Holy Dwelling church which is around Kaps school (One of our beneficiary school). We have used the aproach of meeting the girls at churches because the schools are closed. We are hoping to continue teaching the girls how to make the face mask when the schools re open in July.

 

Thank you for reading our report and we hope to continue serving the more girls in the schols through your support. Thank you for your support.

Girls completed their training sessions
Girls completed their training sessions
Girls being taught how to make re usable pads
Girls being taught how to make re usable pads
Girls at Minga learning how to make reusable pads
Girls at Minga learning how to make reusable pads
Girls talk conference at Minga secondary
Girls talk conference at Minga secondary
Girls at Minga learning how to make reusable pads
Girls at Minga learning how to make reusable pads

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Dear Friends

In the month of January, we had an orientation of the project at one of the schools in the rural area called Minga Community Day Secondary school(MCDSS). The total number of girls at this school is 214. The school dropout rate amongst girls at this institution is 30% per academic year and absenteeism is also high amongst girls. From the survey that was conducted at the school, lack of hygienic sanitary materials required for girls to use during their menses is main cause why this absenteeism rate is this high amongst girls and sometimes it leads to school dropout.

 

The month of February was a very busy one, we conduct training and girls talk sessions with every Thursdays at Kaps and Fridays at Minga CDSS. We also visited different schools in the rural areas where there are problems of no washing facilities as well as high % rate of absenteeism in girls. Chiwamba CDSS is one of the schools that will be added to the program.

 

Another school has been Identified known as Mseche Secondary School, it is also a school in a rural area. This school is 50 kilometers away from where our offices are. The total number of girls at this school is 190+ girls. A survey was conducted at this place and there was an organization which promised to implement the same project 3 years ago, but they did not put their words in actions, the girls at this school are ready for the project and I believe the results will be tremendous. The dropout rate percentage at this school is 16%/year. Absenteeism as a result of lack of hygienic materials during the cycle, is also very high amongst girls.

 

A pack of disposable pads goes at a price of MK650 and many girls came forward to say they do not have access to the hygienic materials because their parents cannot afford to buy for them, instead they use unhygienic cloths that have negative impacts on their health.

 

We are planning to purchase 6 sewing machines in March to be distributed in the school that we will be working with. The girls will be taught how to sew using the machines.

 

Achievements

  • Orientation was conducted at the Schools explaining the need for this project and the benefits it will bring to the schools and the girls.
  • 26 Girls trained on how to sew reusable pads
  • Girls are now knowledgeable on how to use the re-usable pads
  • Absenteeism rate dropping by 53%
  • Girl empowerment
  • Sewing skills acquired
  • Girls interacting and participating in different activities that helps them to improve hygiene in and outside the school area

 

Challenges

  • The schools do have their own Activities, and this interrupts our training sessions
  • Girls start the sessions very eagerly and they become lazy to finish the kit, that we have to do a strict follow up on them
  • Sewing Lessons are not offered in schools and this becomes a challenge during the sessions because we only have one person who teaches the girls how to make the pads.
  • The school that we have added to the program are very far from where our offices are situated; hence mobility becomes an issue as our office do not have a motor vehicle and this affects managing the time as the only option is to use public transport.
  • Currently the pads are hand sewn so this is time consuming
  • For the program to be very efficient and effective, we need to have sewing machines.
  • Through the surveys that have been conducted there is need for more support to reach as many girls as possible.

 

 CONCLUSION

The program has started off well this year. Many girls were not aware of the many menstrual hygiene practices that are available, through the girls talk sessions we had, the girls opened up as to how they have been in the dark about other factors concerning their health. I believe that this program will change a lot of girl’s futures and also girls will be able to acquire long term skills and retention of girls in schools will increase as they will be able to overcome challenges they experience each and every month of failure to attend classes.


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Organization Information

Building Futures

Location: Lilongwe - Malawi
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @BFIMw
Project Leader:
Lameck Chirwa
Lilongwe, Malawi
$5,885 raised of $8,500 goal
 
53 donations
$2,615 to go
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