It is estimated that 20% of education is missed by school girls in Uganda due to the lack of access to sanitary care, averaging four days a month out of school.
It is a basic human right for children to have access to education and just the simple fact that girls are hindered in their own personal development and are more likely to fall into teenage pregnancy due to the lack of access to sanitary care is hard to comprehend.
To provide sanitary products to girls in education and communities to improve school attendance and hygiene.
In March 2018 YLN launched the Pretty Box Project.
Each Pretty Box contained an AFRIpad kit, a set of underwear, soap and an information pamphlet all at a cost of just £7 per box. This was is presented in a branded box that was used by the girls to store their products to keep it safe, clean and hidden. All of the box contents were sourced & purchased within Uganda to ensure that we would maintain effect purchasing and smooth running of the project in the future and for our beneficiaries to locate if needed.
The Pretty Boxes were delivered to 500 beneficiary girls in the Eastern Region of Uganda, the Iganga District with a Puberty Lesson delivered to the entire school of governors, teachers and over 900 students.
Phase 1 of the Sustainability plan was implemented on 27th March 2019.
An industrial straight stitch sewing machine, an industrial over locker, a button press machine, fabrics, sewing tools, storage and patterns were donated to St Paul’s Secondary school so that they were able to make their own sanitary pads. A workshop was held teaching 90 prefects, and 10 teachers how to make the pads. Post workshops, we formed a focus group made up of 5 teachers and 7 prefects (boys and girls selected from the workshops) whom attended a following 10 sessions with a local tailor to learn how to maintain the machines in order to respond to any technical issues with them and could effectively teach others how to make the pads. As a charity we aim to continue to supply the school with fabrics to ensure that this is continued for years to come and that we can repeat the same framework in other schools across Uganda in the future. As part of monitoring and evaluation, we will visit the school every 12 months for refresher sessions and at the beginning of the school academic year for the intake of new students. Inspired by the circular economy we are currently trying to create partnerships with fashion labels and manufacturers so that we can use their fabric off cuts (waste) to donate to the school so that they can make the pads making the project even more sustainable.
In 2017, prior to implementation of the project there were 377 female students enrolled and within the year 54 dropped out.
In 2018 when the project was implemented, there were 498 female students and only 2 dropped out.
In 2019, implementation of phase 1 of the sustainability project 532 female students enrolled and none have dropped.
Not only has the rate of girls dropping out of school reduced to 0 within 2 years since the projects launch, but it has done so despite school enrolment increasing by 41%.
By donating to as little as £7 today, you become a part of the movement to keep a girl in school for an entire year. As a charity our staff will be able to continue our work of mobilisation in different communities across Uganda and impact communities of male and females to teach the skill of making the pads and facilitating open dialogues in mixed communities of male and female about the subject of menstruation to eliminate stigmas.7