Minister joins sanitary pad making drive to keep girls in school


A section of the girls during the training.

ZOMBO. The menstrual cycle has been a challenge and an impediment to regular school attendance among rural school age-going girls in the West Nile region.

According to officials, the problem mainly affects girls between the age-bracket of 13- 17 years.

But in a bid to address the challenge in Zombo district, the State Minister for Northern Uganda Ms. Grace Freedom Kwiyocwiny has equipped both primary and secondary school girls in the district with skills of making their own sanitary pads with local materials so as to remain in school.

The training by the Nile Girls Forum with support from Kwiyocwiny also Zombo district woman Member of Parliament (MP) drew school girls and their senior women teachers with a sole purpose of enhancing their knowledge on menstrual hygiene management.

While addressing the girls and their senior women teachers during the training at Zombo Lower Primary School playground on Saturday, the Minister attributed school dropout cases among girls in the district to inability and lack of knowledge on how to manage their menstruation cycles.

She said on average, school girls in rural settings skip lessons for at least 3 days due to failure and challenges related to the management of their monthly periods.

“The locally made re-usable sanitary pads can be used up to six months and I have brought this training in order to give the girl child confidence to stay in school,” she explained.

According to her, the poor academic performance exhibited by school girls in the district is due to absenteeism caused by uneasiness during monthly periods coupled with lack of sanitary pads as the male learners go ahead with lessons.

Kwiyocwiny also warned parents and girls against early marriage and teenage pregnancy which she says ruins the future of the girl child beside its related health hazards.

“I feel very sad when our young school girls drop out of school because they are pregnant and this must stop because we shall not keep quiet on this.

She said most parents cannot afford sanitary pads sold in shops and this has prompted their daughters to get entangled in love affairs that have seen them drop out of school due to early pregnancy.

Similarly, Ms. Agness Nenongo, a senior woman teacher at Adiadwol primary school in Atyak Sub County said poor management of menstrual cycle is real among girls and has in most cases, kept them away from school.

“This training is very relevant because it will enable our girls to make their own sanitary pads to use during their monthly periods without necessarily asking for help from other people apart from their parents,” she said.

Nenongo said in some instances, boys have taken advantage of the young school girls’ inability to afford sanitary pads to impregnate them.

She said the school administration has always secured sanitary pads for emergencies but for the girls to learn how to make their own will give a boost to girls’ retention in school.

In November last year, the Nile Girls Forum, an organization that seeks to empower the girl child, trained over 200 girls in Paidha town council and Paidha Sub County on how to make their own sanitary pads with the aim of building the capacity of the girl child to manage their menstrual cycle with ease.

Trainees 04 02 19The trainees display some of the pads they had made.

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