Yes, you are seeing it right. It’s men making sanitary towels. What a journey…
Access to good Menstruation Hygiene Management (MHM) is a right which plays an important role in enabling girls and women to reach their full potential. It also sets a basis for the life long reproductive health of a woman. However, menstruation is often a taboo topic in Uganda so girls and women do not have access to adequate MHM information.
Expensive and hard to get
There are several challenges that come along with menstruation in Uganda. Menstruation is linked to maturity and is often taken as a marker of adulthood for girls which propagates early marriages in some communities especially in the rural areas. In Uganda, disposable sanitary towels for one girl can cost up to 10% of the household income thus making them unaffordable for over half the female population in Uganda. In some rural settings, disposable sanitary towels are unavailable. Girls and women are forced to use inappropriate alternatives which are often non-absorbent and unhygienic materials which lead to discomfort, humiliating leakages and infections. As result many girls withdraw from public spaces, including school and social activities. Studies have shown that approximately 60% girls in Uganda miss up to eight days of school every term and up to 30% of girls drop out of school all togethers because of poor access to quality sanitary products. Transactional sex for sanitary products/money for sanitary products is not uncommon among both primary and secondary school students, particularly in rural areas.
RTLs Flavia Agenorwot carried out a Menstruation Hygiene Management (MHM) training in Pajimo in Labongo-Akwang subcounty, Kitgum district yesterday under the Girls First Fund “End Child Marriage” project. Adolescent girls, adult women as well as some men attended the day long training. After the theory session on menstruation in the morning, the participants were taught how to hand sew reusable pads using simple materials. All the participants managed to make 2 different designs of reusable pads by the end of the day and had mastered the techniques which will enable them to teach other members of the community to how to make reusable pads. Although the pads made did not look “beautiful” they are still fully functional and everyone was happy with their efforts – with more stitching practice the quality of the “looks” of the pads will improve.
Thank you RUGBY TACKLING LIFE for the photos and write up!