Menstrual Health and Reusable Pads

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As a youth organisation, we identified an ongoing issue amongst young women around the lack of access to menstrual products and information around menstrual hygiene management. We conducted research in a number of schools, and found that there were a number of other contributing factors when it came to how a girl’s menstruation can impact, or end, her education. A lack of private rooms where girls are able to change their pads; access to pads; storage of pads while at school and stigmatisation by male peers are all were consistently seen to be ongoing barriers to girls’ education, health and safety.

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We created a project to tackle all of these issues, including empowering boys to be involved in menstrual management issues. We now train both girls and boys with skills and knowledge on how to make reusable pads and how to pass on information around menstrual management to both in- and out- of school girls. We also created a ‘Smart Bag’ which includes a number of reusable pads in a specifically designed pocket, enabling girls to bring both their pads and school supplies to school safely. The project empowers girls to be able to make reusable pads using the materials that are available to them.

Our future plans include:

- establishing a sustainable production unit that will employ 15 girls and 15 boys to produce smart bags and reusable pads

- starting school and community clubs of both girls and boys to talk about menstruation and menstrual management within communities

- recruiting and training menstrual hygiene management mentors and adovcates who will popularise this issue and influence the government to prioritise and invest in menstrual management