Menstrual Hygiene Management in Mpemba

Year: 2018
Country: Malawi
Project Status: Funded
Impact Sector: Health
Project Investment: $3,726.03

Project Launch: 8-3-18

Menstrual hygiene is a question of human rights and all girls have the right to manage their periods hygienically and with dignity. Sanitary towels are often unavailable and unaffordable for most girls, forcing them to use newspapers or leaves instead and this has a huge impact on their lives. Not having access to safe sanitary towels may lead to absenteeism from school which exacerbates inequality and expose girls to infections. When girls miss several days of school a month, they are more likely to drop out, this is associated with early child marriage and teenage pregnancy. We want to change the status quo by training girls about how to make reusable sanitary pads using locally available resources and teaching them about menstrual hygiene management and sexual and reproductive health to break the taboo and stigma around menstruation. This will help reduce absenteeism and motivate girls to stay in school and strive to achieve their goals.

Project Update: 1-30-19

In the first phase of the project, 126 students and 25 mother group members from five schools have been trained in making reusable sanitary pads using locally available materials. The mother groups are also training other students in sanitary pad making using the skills that they have acquired. Using this model, the project will reach 311 students directly and over 1000 participants who will have demonstrated increased knowledge of menstrual hygiene management as the project progresses. Participants especially students have expressed profound gratitude for the project with students explaining that the new sanitary pad have contributed to reduced stigma associated with menstruation. Girls reported having more confidence that they will go and return back from school well after taking proper care of their period. One unplanned achievement is that women’s guild members from different churches are demanding similar trainings for their members. A few trained mother group members have been deployed to conduct trainings in different churches as demanded.

Final Report: 5-28-19

The Menstrual Hygiene Management in Mpemba project, implemented in four months, trained 311 girls and 25 mother group members from five schools in reusable sanitary pad making, menstrual hygiene management and sexual and reproductive health. With the trainings, schoolgirls are able to sew or get support in sewing reusable sanitary pads from locally sourced materials. The project has led to an improvement in attendance rate among girls from the three schools, enabling 30 girls attend classes monthly from the previous record of 26 girls.  Based on the success of this project, Girls Network Malawi is implementing a follow-on project that seeks to construct washrooms and sanitary facilities to assist 864 girls in effective menstrual management at Chisawani Primary School. The project will also conduct health, hygiene and sanitation education campaign to 200 girls and 5 mothers group members, who will be responsible for ensuring that the sanitary facilities are well managed and maintained.

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