Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School

by The Kasiisi Project
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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

We were asked by a neighbouring school district to hold workshops to teach their girls to construct homemade reusable menstrual pads (RUMPS). Store bought pads are beyond the reach of many rural Ugandan girls, especially when the COVID epidemic has hit so many family budgets. A lack of pads means that girls often miss school for 5 days a month. RUMPS, made from easily obtained scrap materials can be washed and reused many times, giving girls a budget friendly alternative to commercial products. Senior woman teachers and five girls from each of 7 schools attended a workshop run by our staff. They will now teach their new skills to their peers.

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Motorbike taxis distribute school work
Motorbike taxis distribute school work

 

In the face of continued school closures, poor access to educational resources, and waning student, engagement early marriage, teen pregnancy and child labor are all on the rise in Uganda. Lack of education impacts all children but those from marginalized communities like ours are impacted most and girls most of all.

Most of our children have not been on school for almost 2 years. To combat the impact of COVID-19 on our schools our wonderful staff has sought to ensure children continue to learn! Every two weeks our team assembles and delivers home learning packets to over 2,500 students in rural areas surrounding Kibale National Park. Completed work is collected, marked and returned to the students.

Distributing school work in villages
Distributing school work in villages
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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
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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.

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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

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Organization Information

The Kasiisi Project

Project Leader:
Barbara Cozzens
Watertown, MA United States
$300,168 raised of $400,000 goal
 
5,298 donations
$99,832 to go
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