Reusable sanitary towels: progress & plans

One of the projects we loved seeing grow and develop in 2016 was our reusable sanitary towel project (RUMPS). It’s been so encouraging to see the impact it’s having.

Day-to-day, the project means girls have something to use when they are on their periods. It sounds basic, because it is. But this basic menstrual hygiene is something that most women and girls in Butaleja don’t have access to.

The longer-term impact is that girls are getting a full education, rather than missing a week of school each month. Being at school while on your period is hard enough as a teenager. A complete lack of access to sanitary products makes the experience even more unbearable.

Judith described the difference these RUMPS made in her life last year:

“I used to miss a lot of classes when I was on my period because I had nothing to use. When I went home my daddy told me that I should stay home and wait until he had money to buy me pads. a little bit of HOPE came to our school and taught us a new skill; how to make RUMPS. We have been able to make lots of the reusable pads, which is really fun, and helps us stay in school because we wear them when we’re on our periods. I’ve been able to attend classes more often, and
don’t miss school,
which has helped to improve my general performance too.”

This year, we plan to reach even more girls with this vital training, as well as women’s community groups (who, it turns out, are extremely innovative and have been selling pads at local markets!). It’s not all about the numbers though, which is why 2017 will involve monitoring and evaluating our reusable sanitary towel project. Here are some of the plans our team in Uganda have for this year:

  • Interviewing girls from each school to further establish the impact of this project. We want to make sure we’re empowering them in the best way possible.
  • Working with school staff to ensure the sustainability of this project. The engagement of staff has been encouraging, and we want to ensure this only improves.
  • Helping community groups to continue integrating this project with their savings schemes and small businesses.
  • Working with community groups to organise an ‘expo’ event to raise awareness about the project and show other women in the community that they too can make RUMPS.

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