The emergency assistance package 4 girls/mothers
REPORT ON “Training 100 men & 40 boys in Uganda on menstruation” project by African Child and Youth Development Initiative (ACYDI), Uganda – October, 2020.
Menstrual health management has been reported as one of the leading cause of frequent absenteeism and eventually dropout among school girls in Uganda. In order to reduce the rate of school absenteeism, dropout, early marriage and teenage pregnancies for girls of reproductive age in primary & secondary schools in Buvuma & Mukono districts in Uganda, ACYDI planned to train 100 men and 40 boys on menstruation and these will be the role-models and advocates to other men and boys. This will increase access to menstrual health support materials, scholastic materials and improving Knowledge, Attitude & Practice on menstrual health management (MHM) among males and females. Girls and boys of reproductive age will have increased access to the right information on sexual reproductive health & will be able to support each other thus staying and completing their education.
Global-Giving Flexible funding and response to Covid19 pandemic and lockdown;
When Uganda registered her first Covid19 positive case on 21st March, 2020, all places that gather bigger crowds and gatherings were closed and hence schools, markets were among. A total lockdown and curfew followed and movements were limited. Public and private transport were also stopped hence, inaccessibility to essential services like health facilities, groceries among others. Until to-date, the economy changed and our vulnerable teen mothers at the Islands haven't been working causing a stand still on their businesses and turning against their saved money for survival. Many of our adolescent girls and boys have been locked in the same households with their perpetrators hence increased cases of sexual and domestic violence, while others have tempted to engage into unwanted sex with men so as to access menstrual health materials like pads, soap and sometimes food etc since their parents couldn’t afford during this period yet they also requires frequent hand-washing and face masks in public which they can’t afford.
ACYDI applied to the flexible funding and was granted the Usd 1,000 from Global-giving on top of other locally mobilized resources ($ 2,900) which have pushed us through this period to-date as follows;
- With each getting $25 for essential needs, 70 (including those in our GBV safe house) most vulnerable adolescent girls and teen mothers and their households have been supported each with 1 packet of reusable sanitary pads and food staff including 2kg of sugar, 3kg of rice or a bunch of matooke/plantain, 3kg of maize flour, and 2 bars of hand-washing soap to prevent them from contracting and spreading Covid19/corona virus while they move out make ends meet. This was given as emergency assistance through a door-to-door delivery as a way of following the MoH SOPs for the preventions of Covid19 spread.
- Our team of 5 volunteers has been facilitated to do psychosocial/mental health counseling both at the safe house were over 36 survivors/adolescent girls and some children (SGBV Survivors) were provided protection due to sexual and GBV and in the community where they would talk to parents about child protection, stress, depression as well as self-care during this pandemic. This mental health and counseling was intensified after we registered a suicide death case by a 15YRs old girl who was defiled by her mothers’ brother of 34yrs that remained at their home due to the lockdown, and 2 other attempted suicides by 2 primary school girls who were forced out of their homes as they refused to go for forced marriages. These survivors are part of the 70 beneficiaries of the $25 for emergency assistance. They were provided with safe house, water, lights and food during their stay while following up their reported cases to get their perpetrators.
- Our volunteers were also supported to carry-out door-to-door sensitisation or meet with small teams through peer-to-peer groups on menstrual health management and support for girls as they continue staying home due to the lockdown. We have been able to reach 164 (130G:34B) adolescent girls and boys with this information hence improving knowledge and practices on menstrual health.
ACYDI adopted a door-to-door method to reach out to the beneficiaries in the identified households. Our volunteers and staff identified and registered the qualifying beneficiaries using our identification scales. These received their packages at their door steps to avoid crowding and ensure social distancing. An integration of other services like nutrition, hygiene, sanitation, psychosocial was done especially depending on individual and House-hold needs.
- COVID19 Lockdown; the continued lockdown has limited us from reaching out to the intended boys and men in schools and district officials respectively as these remain closed.
- Increased cases of mental health/stress/depression as more girls and boys face GBV threats, forced sexual harassment among others.
- Limited resources and finances to handle more girls and also carry out menstrual health support yet schools still remain closed for non-finalist/non-candidate classes.
ACYDI team of volunteers and staff will continue to engage small groups of girls and boys through peer-to-peer engagements at village level on MHM training and making of local pads as well as women and men in dialogues on how to support the girls during this period while following the SOPs.
We have identified village mentors who are willing to learn menstrual health and pads making and will transfer the knowledge and skills to the rest in the villages. Due to limited resources, we were not able to train village mentors on menstrual health but planning to do this by end of November or early December.
We can’t thank you enough our donors for your generous support and we promise not to disappoint your giving hand.
From Prossy Nakattudde, Director of Programs
On behalf of African Child and Youth Development Initiative (ACYDI), Uganda.
One of the survivors after receiving her package
Volunteer after mental health/emergency training