Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School

by The Kasiisi Project
Play Video
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School
Kyakatara girl making Reusable Menstrual Pads
Kyakatara girl making Reusable Menstrual Pads

When schools opened in Uganda briefly in May we were all primed to being sexual health programming to Grades 4-6 on the 16 schools we work with. Sadly schools closed again at the begginning of July - likely unitl 2022 - but what we achieved in one month shows the potential impact of well organized, properly funded projects on girls' wellbeing.

 535 girls in 16 school health clubs received weekly after-class health programming for a total of 2,745 student activities in the first month. Numbers were restricted to members of school health clubs because of COVID and lessons were 30 minutes long.

Topics differed from school to school, depending on areas that teachers felt were of prime importance to their particular students.  They covered a range of subjects intended to help girls stay in school, giving both practical health advice (e.g. personal hygiene, constructing re-useable menstrual pads, nutrition, HPV vaccinations etc.) and psychological support for everyday challenges including returning to school after COVID. 

 

Vaccinating girls against cervical cancer
Vaccinating girls against cervical cancer
Kyakatara girls making RUMPS
Kyakatara girls making RUMPS
Girls Health Activities June 2021
Girls Health Activities June 2021
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

 

Ugandan students are returning to school and colleges are opening their doors. Released from lock down our secondary school graduates are busy investigating the next steps in their educational journey. This is an especially important choice for our 10th Grade girls. They need to find a career path that speaks to their interests and skills, will allow them to upgrade as time and circumstances permit, will pay them a living wage and will enable them to combine work and family in the future.

In March 2021 four of our girls chose a new course at our local Mountains of the Moon Univeristy - A certificate in Surgical Theatre Techniques. The 2 year course will qualify them to work specifically in the field of surgery. We wish them the best of luck.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Nyabutono Gorret Kasiisi Project Girls' Program
Nyabutono Gorret Kasiisi Project Girls' Program

Uganda has recorded around 20,000 cases of COVID-19 and about 200 deaths. The government acted fast, closing borders and shutting schools in March.

Since then  we have had no face to face contact with our girls. Our programs supporting their reproductive health have been put on hold. and we have been unable to reach a whole cohort of girls who have begun their periods in the last year. Normally we would be ensuring they understood the changes to their bodies and emotions, were given accurate facts about reproductive biology and had lessons in how to make resuable menstrual pads.

We have seen the impact of the epidemic in rising girls' dropout rates in classes that returned to school in November. Increased unemployment and falling incomes have led families to encourage early marriage and jobs in the informal employment sector - helping in shops, roadside fruit and vegetable sellers, agricultural work. Teen pregnancy rates are on the rise forcing girls to lose education.

In an attempt to provide and  support we can we went on the air with phone-in radio programs directed specifically at girls - although we hope their brothers listen too! Topics covered included puberty and teen pregnancy, parent child relationships and childprotection, sexulally transmitted diseases, gender based violence, and posiitve self esteeem, nurtition and body image.

We hear that schools are due to go back in January. It won't be soon enough for many of our girls, we can't wait.

Keeping safe during the epidemic
Keeping safe during the epidemic

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and related social-distancing measures have left Ugandan primary and secondary schools closed through at least September. This regrettably forced us to discontinue our school-based sexual and reproductive health education and outreach activities. But this hasn't stopped or even slowed our work!

Turn Up the Radio

To reach not only our students, but their families and communities as well, The Kasiisi Project staff have taken our messages to the Ugandan radio airwaves. We kicked off our health-related radio programs earlier this summer, and we'll continue until schools reopen. Our health educators Patrick and Shammy, along with the district health educator Catherine, have or will address topics related to personal hygiene, menstruation, COVID-19, puberty and teenage pregnancy.

So far, all of our radio programs have been well received, with a large number of enthusiastic and appreciative listeners calling in!

The New Senga

Our health team is putting the final touches on a Parent's Sexual and Reproductive Health Handbook. In Ugandan culture, discussions around sexuality occur only between a girl and her father's sister, a role known as a Senga. With disruptions in family structure brought about by the country's high fertility, this functional relationship has diminished, if not disappeared. Our hope is to start training parents to act as Sengas for their children, both girls and boys. Without the structure of school, children face increased risks, including teenage pregnancy, so the timing of this effort is critically important. To the best of our knowledge, this handbook will be the first of its kind produced for and distributed in rural western Uganda.

We're also working on online materials and downloadable, offline activities around sexual and reproductive health. With the efforts described above and these new tools, we hope to persist our messages and strengthen families and communities -- in spite of this awful pandemic.

We are humbled and grateful for the outpouring of support over the past month, particularly with the knowledge that the pandemic changed many people’s financial circumstances. Now more than ever, we remain committed to protecting Kibale National Park and enhancing surrounding communities, as we have for the past 22 years.

Thank you and stay safe, strong and healthy.

Sample page from the Parent's SRH Handbook
Sample page from the Parent's SRH Handbook
Our health coordinator Patrick Tusiime & students
Our health coordinator Patrick Tusiime & students
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Patrick Tusiime, our health coordinator
Patrick Tusiime, our health coordinator

We need to talk about periods. And not the much-loved punctuation, but the big red elephant in the room. 

And while hardly dinner-table conversation, periods have a dramatic and yet under-discussed impact on health, education, and conservation in the developing world.

For starters, sanitary pads are expensive, and in rural communities like many areas of Uganda, they’re hard to come by. And without easy access to private toilets, washrooms, and sanitation facilities to dispose of pads, periods can be difficult to manage at school. As a result, girls find it difficult to go to school once they reach puberty. In rural Uganda, girls miss up to 8 days of school each month. When a girl misses school because of her period, it puts her behind her male classmates by upwards of 145 days (cumulatively) and that’s if she opts to stay in school, which most do not.

Uganda currently has the third highest population growth rate in the world (3.3%). The country’s explosive population growth has not only strained infrastructure, but increases pressure -- both legal and illegal -- on the country’s natural resources, including forests and wildlife. Evidence shows that educated girls and women delay sex and marriage, and are more likely to use contraceptives, which collectively leads to smaller and more sustainable families, and ultimately reduces population growth. And these are in addition to the many positive impacts on economic growth and incomes, health, and productivity -- benefits so numerous the Brookings Institution characterizes girls' education as "the world's best investment with the widest-ranging returns."

In 2015, a team of Oxford University researchers tested the impacts of providing reusable sanitary pads (RUMPS) and puberty education on school attendance in rural villages in east-Central Uganda (see link below). Across the study region, girls’ attendance rates dropped as they started to get their periods, but for those girls provided with either pads, education or both, the drop was far less dramatic -- a nearly 20% difference!. The evidence is clear: Compared to doing nothing, simple interventions like RUMPs and education can have a substantial effect on girls’ education outcomes.

To help fill the gap in communities around Kibale, The Kasiisi Project’s outstanding health team not only leads sessions on menstruation and hygiene, but also trains both girls and boys, as well as their teachers, on how to make low-cost, reusable menstrual pads out of fabric. And they're sharing these skills within their communities. We're also working to ensure that our 16 partner schools have an adequate number of separate girls, boys and teachers' toilets, water points, and sanitation/wash facilities. These efforts support our broader goal of creating safe and healthy school environments where children -- both boys and girls -- can focus on learning.

A reusable menstrual pad (RUMP)
A reusable menstrual pad (RUMP)
Teachers cutting fabric for RUMPs
Teachers cutting fabric for RUMPs
RUMPs training
RUMPs training
Girls at Kanyawara Primary School
Girls at Kanyawara Primary School
Shamillah Tuhaise, our girls' health coordinator
Shamillah Tuhaise, our girls' health coordinator

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

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.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

The Kasiisi Project

Project Leader:
Barbara Cozzens
Watertown, MA United States
$288,653 raised of $400,000 goal
 
5,084 donations
$111,347 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

The Kasiisi Project has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.