Since 2016, AFRIpads and Raising Teenagers Uganda have been working together to provide underprivileged girls with menstrual kits and education. We chose Raising Teenagers Uganda as Partner of the Month because of their Menstrual Health and Hygiene (MHH) interventions that have now impacted over 28,200 girls.
Raising Teenagers Uganda is a charity organization with a mission of keeping girls in school and ending child marriages. Their main focus area is on Menstrual Health and Hygiene (MHH).
We spoke to Hope Nankunda, Founder and Executive Director of Raising Teenagers Uganda, who is also the Central Region Coordinator, and Communications Representative for Girls Not Brides Uganda Coalition. Hope is passionate about MHH and explained to us the link between menstrual supplies, girls’ education, and teenage pregnancy, and child marriages
Why did you choose to undertake a Menstrual Health and Hygiene intervention?
When we launched Raising Teenagers Uganda in 2016, we quickly learnt first-hand that many girls were missing school during their periods and that this was affecting their academic performance. We also noticed that many parents, especially from rural Uganda, could not afford to support their daughters with basic needs including sanitary pads. Partnering with AFRIpads gave us the opportunity to distribute reusable sanitary pads to these girls so that they can attend school daily, just like the boys do.
You mentioned rural Uganda’s MHH challenges. Can you share the specific areas you have undertaken MHH interventions?
We selected villages in areas where the child marriage and teenage pregnancy rates are the highest, because of their linkage to lack of menstrual supplies. We have supported schoolgirls in villages in the following districts: Arua, Bushenyi, Butaleja, Fort Portal, Isingiro, Kabarole, Kalangala Island, Kampala (informal settlements, shanty towns and ghettos), Kasese, Lyantonde, Maracha, Masindi, Mbale, Mbarara, Mpigi, Mukono, Nebbi, Rubirizi, Sheema, Tororo, and Wakiso
What else has Raising Teenagers Uganda done beyond supply of menstrual kits?
We have provided girls with MHH education, because it is not enough to only receive a pad. We found the AFRIpads MHH Education Curriculum very helpful in equipping the girls with information about menstruation, even those who have not yet started their period.
What is the impact of your MHH intervention?
Since 2016, we have distributed 28,200 kits. Our impact is best summed up in the words of one of our beneficiaries, Moreen* a student of Pioneer High School, Bushenyi, who said:
“I have been able to complete my Senior 4 examinations successfully thanks to the AFRIpads Menstrual Kit I received from Raising Teenagers Uganda when they came to our school in 2018. I was tired of staying home during my periods for fear of being laughed at by the boys in the class.”
Any final remarks?
We have been to schools where girls use dry grass or papers from books to manage their periods. We can’t allow this to continue happening especially if we can step in and help. Even if you help one girl, it makes all the difference.
I call upon parents to stop marrying off their daughters just because they have started menstruation. These girls are young and have dreams to achieve. It’s only education that can enable them to realise their dreams so let’s keep girls in school.
Finally, we would like to thank Girls Not Brides Uganda, Vow for Girls, Geneva Global, Postcode Lottery, ACESWorld, Rainbow International School, Commercial Bank of Africa, Lohana Schools of Kampala and all our individual supporters and well-wishers for their support – we could not have achieved this impact without you.
Thank you Hope for sharing your passion for MHH with us and we are happy to continue partnering with Raising Teenagers Uganda as they strive to end child marriage and prevent teenage pregnancy