Menstruation Period has been singled out as one of the major reasons for irregular and later school drop out among girls in Uganda. It is no coincidence that the drop outs among girls are higher in upper primary. In its 2005 report on hygiene and sanitation in schools, the World Bank computed the impact of poor menstrual management on girls. The World Bank report noted that ‘if a girl misses 4 days of school every 4 weeks due to her period, she will miss 10 to 20% of her school days’. And yet in Bukedea District the Eastern part of Uganda, older girls miss at least 5 days every month during their menstruation periods.Sanitary pads, the only savior in such a situation cost more than 2,000 UGX despite the waiver of VAT on imported pads. In Uganda, this is far much higher than what an average family can afford, considering that 31% of Ugandans spend less than 1 USD a day, on all their household needs.
If the issue of access to sanitary pads for school girls is not attended to, the gains realized in increasing enrollment will be reversed and so will the literacy levels; thereby affecting Uganda’s ability to achieve its development goals and vision.
AFRIpads Ltd a social business that specializes in the local manufacture and global supply of cost-effective, reusable sanitary pads provides women and girls with a sustainable solution for managing their periods with comfort and dignity. AFRIpads are made in Uganda by women, for women, with love.
In Uganda, Plan has partnered with local social enterprise AFRIpads, to help girls and women better manage their menstruation. AFRIpads trains Ugandan women to manufacture reusable sanitary pads, then Plan purchases the pads and sells them to local vendors at a subsidised rate.
This allows vendors to sell pads to girls and women in the surrounding areas for an affordable price and still make a profit. The project is improving access to sanitary pads, while providing vendors with a reliable source of income.