The Power Girls Project
Project Launch: 7/9/18
Rural girls who are menstruating face stigma and bullying. These social forces are so powerful that many girls are absent from school during their periods. Some even eventually abandon their studies as they complete puberty. This results in the loss of millions of dollars in economic value and shattered dreams for girls.
This project will train girls about how to manage their cycles, making use of locally made pads while they are on their periods. Through this intervention, more girls will remain in school and expand their future intellectual, social, and economic horizons.
Project Update: 11/7/18
Changing approach, the project has decided to train pad-making multipliers to better reach local women. 15 mother group members and 15 girls from 3 schools including Chipasula Secondary School, St John's Primary School, and M'buka Primary School were trained in the essentials of pad-making which they will then repeat with community members. The training was facilitated over 2 days to ensure that the trainers understand the pad-making process.
At the end of the project, 33 people (16 girls, 15 mother group members, 2 teachers) were directly impacted through reusable sanitary pad training, in the process gaining skills to produce reusable pads on their own. The mother group members used knowledge gained to train 80 additional girls. The project has attracted interest from other schools in the area, which noticed how within a short period of time the project has reduced absenteeism among girls aged 10-18 by 20%. The local partner organization on this project, Movement for Boys and Girls, plans on establishing a reusable sanitary pad enterprise to support more girls with skills in pad production and hygiene management. It is hoped that expansion of this project will increase impact on the girls in Lilongwe and beyond.
“Today I have learnt about how to make pads and the challenges which girls face during menstruation and how the pads are important. The pads are important because they help to keep us clean and continue being in class. It also feels good to learn how to make pads because we can save a lot of money which we used to spent to buy pads. ”
– Favor, Project Participant
“When you are doing your periods you need to dress properly and put on the right sanitary materials. If you don't, the sanitary cloth can just fall down and you get very embarrassed. We have also been taught how to make pads and am glad that we are going to be able to teach our friends. We will also be able to tell our friends to stay calm when they start their periods, as its nothing very strange.”
– Eliza, Project Participant
“There are many challenges that girls face here at school. One of them is that girls fear that boys will torture them when they see blood stains on their clothes, this is why they need the pads so that they can use when they are in that situation. Sometimes we also get shy to go to school during menstruation when we don't have pads or money to buy the pads. Today they have taught us how to make pads so that we don't have to rely on someone but be able to do this ourselves so that we shouldn't be absent from school during that situation.”
– Trintas, Project Participant
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