Sanitary Pads Keep Ugandan Girls in School

by The Kasiisi Project (Girls Support Program)
Teachers cutting fabric
Teachers cutting fabric

 

The Kasiisi Project provides sanitary pads and underwear to all menstruating girls in five of our project schools. However, we do not have the resources to expand this project to the other nine Kasiisi Project Schools. One way to reach more schools, girls and to make the program more sustainable, is to promote Reusable Menstrual Pads . Workshops on how to make the reuasble pads have been held in two schools, students and teachers attended the workshop and our plan is to bring this technology to all our schools!

 

Previously the Kasiisi Project has attempted to introduce reusable pads, but the efforts have been met with resistance from our health care workers due to issues of proper washing and drying of the pads. Menstrual hygiene and proper care of the pads are an integral component to these new workshops!

 

Some of the recent feedback we have recieved on the reusable pads include:

- They do not leak at night or during the day

-Wash them today and you can use it again tomorrow

- Work as good as a manufactured pad that you can buy

-You don't have to throw them away, you just clean it

-Other family members (mothers and sisters) want to learn how to make them

 

The Kasiisi Project wishes you all a happy holiday season and a healthy 2016 !
 

Children making pads
Children making pads
Young boy helping make pads
Young boy helping make pads
Group shot after making pads
Group shot after making pads

The Kasiisi Project "Sanitary Pads Keeps Ugandan Girls in School" project has been selected as Global Givings Project of the Month for Spetember, 2015 ! 

 Our staff in Uganda was immediately relayed the exciting news and their reactions were priceless! Everyone had great ideas on how we could use the gift to further our programs related to sanitary pad distribution and sexual health education. 

The extra support Global Giving will provide this month will allow for extra materials and trainings for our peer education program, which trains young women to be peer educators in their schools and inform other girls (and refute myths) about reproductive health, menstruation, puberty and relationships with boys.  The peer educators are taught by our community health worker who circulates between the primary schools giving lessons and handing out sanitary pads. 

We hope you are all as excited as we are that we were chosen as Project of the Month! 

New Dorm
New Dorm

The girls’ wing of the dormitories at Kasiisi Primary School opened last month at the start of the new school year, adding to the suite of girl focused interventions we have initiated to keep them in school.

Girls face many challenges to getting a good education. We have addressed their unique biology with sanitary supplies, girl friendly latrines and sexual health education. However long walks to school,  chores at home and lack of light to do homework by also interfere with academic progress. Our students cite issues of sexual harassment on the way to school and fear of rape – concerns their parents share and which lead them to keep adolescent girls at home. In addition to these advantages, boarding students also have access to extra academic support and the school library.

 So if you are interested in supporting girls please consider a donation to our dormitory!

On a side not, 2014 was Kasiisi Project Schools' best year yet academically! Kasiisi Primary School attained the second best score in the 2014 Primary Leaving Exams (PLE) for a government primary schools in the whole of Kabarole District  with 76% of its students attaining Grade 1 passes. For the first time we had students with an aggregate score of 5 – a girl at Kigarama and a boy at Kiko. The best score possible is a 4.

Now we would like to give the most able of them a chance at a high quality secondary education and the brightest future possible.

Has it been in your mind that you might like to sponsor one of our students for secondary school but haven’t quite got around to doing it? Can you commit to 4 years of a full or partial scholarship? Can you do it this year? 

If you are interested please contact elizabeth@kasiisiproject.org and we will give you all the details.

In the meantime congratulations and huge thanks to everyone who has helped our schools excel – either with generous contributions, hard work or both!

Girl and Dorm Bed
Girl and Dorm Bed
Dorm Dining Hall
Dorm Dining Hall
Thank You!
Thank You!
Girls and Bikes
Girls and Bikes

Thanks to volunteer Oliver Bradley, the Kasiisi Project has an exciting new program to protect girls from sexual harassment , increase their access to education and to promote independence and self reliance: BICYCLES!

Long walks to school are a problem for all children in rural Uganda,  but particularly for girls. They are vulnerable to sexual harassment on the road,  and the temptation, when you are tired,  to accept lifts from  the Boda-Boys (drivers of motorbike taxis) can be irresistible. But Boda-Boys often expect sexual favors in return, leading to pregnancy and HIV infection.

The length of the journey also means very early starts, often before dawn, and arriving home too late to do much homework while it is still light.

The Kasiisi Project Girls’ Bicycle Program hopes to change this. The brainchild of volunteer Oliver Bradley, this pilot initiative is providing 25 girls from Kasiisi and Kigarama Primary Schools with bicycles, and teaching them to ride them. Buffalo bicycles,  provided by World Relief Bicycles,are built to withstand the tough roads of Africa. All the girls will receive helmets, road safety training, and will be required to bring the bikes in for regular check ups and maintenance.

And we do not forget our boys – we hope to train students in bicycle maintenance, both to maintain our bikes and to provide a skill they can put to good use in the future.

This is a pilot – we hope to expand the program into other schools. We thank Oliver and his family for their generosity donating the first 25 bikes. 

Girl riding Bike
Girl riding Bike
Volunteer and Girls with Bikes
Volunteer and Girls with Bikes
Bikes from Kenya
Bikes from Kenya
Hand Washing
Hand Washing

Sanitary Pads and Health Talks Keep Ugandan Girls in School

By: Katelyn Wigmore

During the second week of each month, the Girls Peer Education program travels to five local primary schools in the Kibale Forest School District to distribute sanitary pads to girls in Primary 3 to Primary 7. These monthly distributions of sanitary pads help keep Ugandan girls in schools who might otherwise miss anywhere from three to seven days of school because of their monthly periods or the extreme but not unusual case of dropping out of school completely because of it. Kasiisi Primary School Headmistress Lydia Kasenene says “they stay at home because they are embarrassed and feel shame because of this very natural event. If their periods start during the school day, they may bleed through their dresses and won’t participate in class activities because they have to stand up and they may get made fun of.” The program distributes about 900 sanitary pads monthly to the five different primary schools. The pads give the girls confidence, independence, and the ability to be active all the time and participate fully in school just like the boys.

The monthly pad distribution also gives Kibale Forest Schools Program Nurse Eve Basemera and United States Peace Corps Health Volunteer Katelyn Wigmore, the opportunity to give health talks on various subjects from hygiene, menstruation, nutrition, early pregnancy, boy’s and girl’s development, abuse, marriage, and HIV/AIDS. The girls can ask questions and receive answers in a safe and learning environment. Many girls do not have an environment at home where they can ask questions and many times their mothers or relative or close friends do not know the answers to certain questions because they do not know either they never learned or were never told.

The distribution of pads and talks also gives the girls the chance to have hands on experience, such as learning how to use a sanitary pad, learning how to wash their hands with hand washing demonstrations and also learning to build tippy taps that are stationed outside their schools pit latrines to wash their hands. At each of the schools in November as the program focused on hygiene, they did an activity where after the tippy taps were built they brought a couple boys from the school to provide the girls with a teaching opportunity to teach the boys how to use the tippy tap and wash their hands. The girls are given skills that they can take back to share with their families and help create healthier environments at their homes, at school, or in the community. Girls gain confidence and information needed in their everyday lives. Kasenene puts it with a smile “they are becoming smarter than the boys.”

This coming year will focus on continuing to provide the girls with information on health topics to better their health, learn about Life Skills, and introduce different activities like Grassrootsoccer and peer education. The program hopes to combine with the Boys Peer Education program to do activities, also to help provide a better understanding of each other and hopefully will lead to more respect.

We would like to thank all the donors for their generosity as it helps change lives and when we can change one person we change a generation. 

Showing younger children how to hand wash
Showing younger children how to hand wash
Nurse works with Students
Nurse works with Students
Classroom Time on Sanitary Health Concerns
Classroom Time on Sanitary Health Concerns
Sanitary Pad Distribution
Sanitary Pad Distribution

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Project Leader:
Caroline Riss
Cambridge, MA United States
$206,383 raised of $400,000 goal
 
3,807 donations
$193,617 to go
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