‘Improving livelihoods with reusable pads in Zambia‘
God’s Work Foundation (GWF) is a non-profit organization in Zambia with a mission to uplift marginalized communities through initiatives such as the provision of reusable sanitary pads.
AFRIpads has been working with GWF since 2018. We want to recognize them as our Partner of the Month for July. This small yet ambitious organization went above and beyond to uplift the lives of over 2,900 schoolgirls and ladies within the communities by providing Menstrual Health and Hygiene (MHH).
AFRIpads spoke to Laura Barclay, a missionary from GWF. Laura shared how MHH has become an integral part of their work to create healthier villages in Zambia.
Why does GWF integrate Menstrual Hygiene services in Zambia such as education and reusable pads?
We are primarily a mission’s based organization with our main focus on church planting, discipleship, and leadership development. However, working closely with the community we became aware of their other needs.
Firstly, when one trustee’s daughter saw the young girls’ menstrual health needs, she started investigating the best reusable sanitary pads. GWF then chose AFRIpads Menstrual Kits and we have been distributing the kits ever since.
Secondly, society here views menstrual health as embarrassing and non-discussable. Even between husband and wife, which is very sad, as it is something that is so important. Additionally, the girls are also too embarrassed to ask their mothers for help because it is a taboo subject.
Thirdly, because we are in a rural area, the girls lack MHH knowledge. Therefore, they resort to using old dress material, blankets, and/or toilet paper. These are items that may cause health issues.
Finally, access to any type of sanitary pads in rural Zambia remains a big challenge.
We felt as an organization we had to do something to help the woman in the area.
Why did you choose AFRIpads Menstrual Kits?
The reason why we chose AFRIpads was because of the quality of the product. They are incredibly well made and durable. They are also so professionally packaged, all in all, a great product that is value for money.
Which areas in Zambia does GWF distribute reusable sanitary pads and why?
We work In the Western province of Zambia along the Angolan Border. It is a marginalized and neglected area. The infrastructure here is poor with no proper roads, poor medical facilities, and only informal stalls.
The need for Christ-centred, Bible-based churches was huge. So GWF decided that these were the people to whom God was calling us to work with.
GWF uses the menstrual kits as a women’s ministry tool. Please share with us how?
We use the menstrual kits as a women’s ministry tool. We gather the women, talk to them about God, and then we also discuss women’s health. Then explain how best to use and care for their reusable sanitary pads.
How does GWF include girls in their MHH programme?
We have also distributed menstrual kits in schools. We have reached seven schools so far where we have taught the girls about Menstrual Health and Hygiene (MHH). Where possible we partner with the health department and/or medical staff to organize talks for schoolgirls. Together, we teach schoolgirls about menstruation and health.
What motivates GWF to keep doing this work?
The amazing testimonies of women and girls whose lives have been transformed. The ladies and young girls are excited to receive their packs. We make a little drawstring bag that contains three pairs of AFRIpads underwear and an AFRIpads Menstrual Kit. It is a pretty and discrete bag.
Menstruation is a taboo subject here. Young girls find out about it from their peers. The girls use old materials or blankets to manage their periods, which is unhealthy. Additionally, the girls may face humiliation and shame if these materials can’t absorb their menstrual flow. Therefore, many girls do not go to school during their period and are afraid to leave their homes.
Many young girls have expressed their gratitude because now they can go to school and about their daily routine without worrying about leaks.
Thank you God’s Work Foundation for blessing women and girls in Zambia with reusable sanitary pads among other services!