Menstruation in Africa

It is a fact that, in Africa, a girl who is just starting her periods will eventually miss 25% of her education. Mostly, this is due to lack of sanitation facilities in schools and in homes, but also because there is no money for sanitary products, causing embarrassment and the need to stay hidden at home.

In many communities in Africa, when girls begin menstruating, there are no sanitary products available. Their parents will not openly discuss the topic, meaning that girls are frightened and embarrassed. Consequently, many hide in their hut, through shame, until it is over. They miss school, they miss out on social activities and they miss out on life.

A fantastic initiative has been launched by children at one of our high schools in Uganda: menstruation awareness lessons are given to the entire school, led by teenage boys who educate, not just the girls, but all of the boys as well.

Working with an NGO called Afro Pad, the girls have been provided with washable sanitary kits, presented to them in backpacks which they proudly carry. This has increased attendance at school by 25%, and the high school girls from the village are now visiting primary schools in the region to educate other children about this topic.

In Uganda, for every 10 boys, only 8 girls are enrolled in secondary education. In Costa Foundation funded schools, 51% of pupils are girls.

Educate a girl, and you educate a nation.