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Field Notes: How We Get Girls To Stay In School

The last time I sent you a letter I was talking about the difficult situation facing school girls in Northern Uganda. How in some areas only 3% of girls continue to secondary school and the majority drop out in 3rd or 4th grade.

Uganda-Girls

A major reason for girls not attending school is the lack of sanitary products. I asked for your help and you responded. So far we have been able to buy 500 kits of reusable pads, underwear, and soap (to wash the pads). We started delivery of the kits last week and over 200 girls have received them. The response in our communities have been phenomenal, I expect to be out within a week or two.

To create the biggest impact with these kits we combine them with conversations with schools, parents, caretakers and local government officials. The girls also spend an afternoon with a nurse from the health center who explains the changes in their bodies and the girls can ask questions in a safe environment.

We also don’t give the kits away for free. We actually sell them. Parents pay 2,000 shillings ($0.60). By paying they make a commitment, an investment in the girls’ education, and make a promise to send their girls to school every day. For those who can not afford to pay, we have an option of performing community service. We want everyone to be able to access the pads. We also want to ensure we reach our goal of more girls in school and a small payment will help with that.

A kit containing reusable pads for a year, underwear and soap (to wash the pads) cost $11.

With gratitude,

Linda and the African Women Rising team

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