Every month, millions of Ugandan girls struggle to deal with issues surrounding menstruation periods that are simply too expensive and out of their reach. They, therefore, have no choice but to use pieces of old rags, old and unclean T-shirts, leaves, polythene bags, toilet paper, and some dig menstrual holes where they sit during their periods instead of using sanitary towels. A culture of shame and embarrassment forces them to keep silent about this practice.
Every month that passes, these young girls worry about their next period, where to find the pads, or how they will live through the same experiences of the previous month. Most of these girls have been forced to have sex in exchange for pads, which has led to increased teenage pregnancies and school dropouts.
Uganda is one of those third world countries in Africa where the majority of girls cannot afford monthly pads, lack clean water for use, are in stigmatized communities where wearing pads is seen as a taboo. The Covid19 pandemic has again made the situation worse, as most lack money to purchase the ordinary pads.
As young and vibrant youth from Mbarara, Kyambogo and Makerere universities, we came up with a solution to train these young adolescents on how to make their own reusable sanitary pads using simple available local materials that can last for one to two years and practice proper menstrual hygiene management.
The initiative known as the One Million Girls Pad Project is intended to train at least one million girls from underserved communities in the next five years on how to make their own reusable pads. This will help save the millions of girls that have been dropping out of school due to lack of pads.