Village Water are working to remove the barriers that stop girls attending school by providing menstrual health programmes with roots in the wider community.
Our September 1% will go to six schools in Zambia reaching 2,629 girls and 2,404 boys. The scheme educates boys and girls in school as well as teachers and parents, helping to break the taboo and support young women in improved attendance rates.
To make lasting changes, activities at the school are supported in the girls’ communities. Influential women from the surrounding villages are trained to act as champions. Follow up visits confirm that these lessons are being passed on to future cohorts with refresher training offered.
Students also undertake training sessions from a professional tailor plus materials (sewing machine, fabric, patterns) to make reusable sanitary towels as well as each being supplied with a year’s supply of emergency towels.
Village Water have had great success with this programme in the past. Data from 14 schools in 2017 shows a 79% reduction in absenteeism due to menstruation.
A student taking part in the 2017 scheme said: “Before the training I wasn’t open to disclose my condition to anybody when I menstruated. I could bathe and use cloths for pads, but all in secrecy. As a result, I would miss classes without telling exactly what the matter was. After the training, I am free to tell my teachers at school about it.”