Wednesday, 7 March 2012

about Usafi Girls Campaign

(Right to a Healthy Sanitary Life)

Introduction and Background

Globally, 150 million children currently enrolled in school may drop out before completing primary education and at least 100 million of these are girls. Menstruation for girls without access to sanitary towels/pads and underpants is a major contributor to girls dropping out of school. UNICEF estimated that 1 in 10 menstruating African school girls skip four (4) or five (5) days per month or drop out completely.

Educational opportunities in Uganda have grown considerably since 2000, for example, there have been marked increase in enrollment from primary school to the tertiary level. These increases have followed initiatives at international levels in setting up instruments to ensure equitable education. The government of Uganda has provided “Free” primary and secondary education for all. However, statistics show that less than 38% of girls entering primary one (1) will complete their primary education and the numbers will still drop during the early years of secondary education. Many obstacles stand in the way of successful education for the rural girls among them are issues relating to puberty, teen pregnancy and early marriage.

Usafi Girls Campaign is a young girls and women advocacy initiative, implemented by Haven Anti-AIDS Foundation a charitable, indigenous, not-for-profit Children and Youth development organization, registered with a mandate of involving and empowering children and youth to fight against HIV/AIDS, illiteracy, alleviate poverty through the use of their talents to improve their livelihoods, realize their potential and discover their worth through participatory and advocacy activities, with the goal of empowering and advocating for easy access to sanitary towels/pads to school girls so as to improve their health and education in Uganda. A survey of menstruating girls in rural Uganda found out that the biggest number of school dropouts are girls because of inconveniences during the menstrual periods. These absenteeism leads to poor academic performances and subsequent dropping out of school. Academic performance correlates closely with school attendance, and absenteeism, and drop out rates are high for rural Ugandan girls for reasons often linked to their reproductive biology. Menstruation, early pregnancy, STI and HIV interfere with their success at school. Educating girls is widely regarded as one of the best ways to improve the economy and health of developing countries. The lack of education and financial inequalities between men and women mean that women often lack the power to control their reproductive health.

Statement of the Problem

Despite the fact that theirs free universal primary education in Uganda, many rural and semi-rural girls drop out of school at puberty stages due to lack of sanitary towels/pads. Only 38% of Uganda girls will complete primary school and only 13% will attend secondary education. This campaign will increase access to education and improve health for poor rural girls in Uganda through peer education programs, improved sanitary hygiene and the self-sustainable production of locally produced, ecologically friendly sanitary towels/pads. (MakaPads)


To live in a society with equal opportunities and equal access to resources


To improve and facilitate efforts towards the promotion and protection of education, sanitary health and wellbeing of girls and women

Main Goal

To advocate for girls and women accessibility, affordability, availability and acceptability of sanitary towels/pads to improve their health and education in schools and communities of Uganda


  • To advocate for girls and women’s rights as a way of accessing sanitary towels/pads to better their health and education in Uganda.
  • To provide skills to girls and women on how to make their own sanitary towels/pads for self-sustenance
  • To support preventive programmes that promote girls and women sanitary health
  • To empower marginalized and vulnerable female groups in communities to realize their potential and gender responsive development

Brief description of the campaign and Activities

The campaign is national wide with the aim of providing support and creating awareness for improved health and education of girls and women through sanitary towel/pads provision and production. It is expected to run for a period of 5 years in which we expect to achieve our designated goals and objectives. Through its implementation, the following activities are to be enforced;

  • Training girls and women in the production of sanitary towels/pads with the help of MakaPads technology
  • Workshops
  • Distribution of sanitary towels/pads to girls and women most especially vulnerable and disabled
  • Lobbying and advocacy
  • Information dissemination and sensitization
  • Voluntary counseling in matters relating to menstruation periods
  • Capacity building and mentoring
  • Platforms for girls and women to raise their issues


The campaign aims at reaching out to young girls aged 9 – 14 years from primary four (4) to primary seven (7), then senior one (1) to senior six (6) students, that is, 14 – 24 years and University and out of girls and women, that is, 25 – 45 years. It also targets communities of vulnerable and disabled girls who already dropped out of school due to the lack of funds to purchase sanitary towels/pads. It also extends to university students and out of school girls and women.


The major operational areas of the campaign are Kampala, Wakiso, Jinja, Mukono, Buikwe, Kamuli, Iganga, Mayuge, Mbale, Tororo, Busia, Kumi, Soroti, Pallisa, Lira, Pader, Kitgum, Kotido, Arua, Abim, Nebbi, Gulu, Kitgum, Fortportal, Mubende, Mityana, Kibaale, Mbarara, Masaka, Mpigi, Rakai, among other districts of Uganda and it is expected to move across the whole country.

The strategic and campaigning process

Usafi Girls campaign is implemented by Haven Anti-AIDS Foundation a charitable, indigenous, not-for-profit Children and Youth development organization, registered with a mandate of involving and empowering children and youth to fight against HIV/AIDS, illiteracy, alleviate poverty through the use of their talents to improve their livelihoods, realize their potential and discover their worth through participatory and advocacy activities, in which its activities and programmes are to be initiated into the organization’s work plans. The campaign is to last for a period of five (5) years (2012 - 2017) in which it’s going to accomplish all its goals and objectives. Its immediate implementing partners, that is, Technology 4 Tomorrow the sole producers and manufacturers of MakaPads will the suppliers of these materials and will also be in charge of training girls and women. They will also initiate the construction of incinerators to different schools with training of how to use them. Other projects like Kasiisi project, Kyaka II project, Hope North Uganda among others of these who have done something similar will be brought on board so as to ease the campaigning process.

By the end of 2017, the campaign will have been able to establish swampy areas where papyrus plants can easily be accessed and grown. Each region will have an established mini factory for manufacturing of sanitary towels (MakaPads) and these will employ girls and women and will get different types of skills for making MakaPads. Schools, community leaders and parents will receive counseling and guidance skills and trainings on how to keep the environment clean to avoid infections. Changing rooms for school going girls will be established in different mixed and girls schools and also a proposal of introducing a USAFI day with different activities like cleaning of the changing rooms and other sports activities. Girls and women will receive trainings in menstrual hygiene and free sanitary towels and pants will be provided to those vulnerable and disabled. This will increase attendance of girls in schools during menses, participation in class and physical activities, enhance personal grooming and building self confidence.

Other Strategies

  • Lobbying for government representatives and policy makers
  • Workshops for menstrual hygiene
  • House – to – House/community outreaches
  • Primary and Secondary schools outreaches
  • Dialogues with local health practitioners and workers
  • Training in sanitary towels/pads making

Benefits of the campaign to girls and women

  • Provision of cheap and free supply of sanitary towels/pads
  • Increased attendance of school going girls during menses
  • Improvement in health from using hygienic products
  • Employment opportunities
  • Improved self confidence
  • Enhanced personal grooming
  • More frequent participation in class and physical activities
  • Improved environment for girls in menses by building changing rooms
  • Vocational training in the manufacture of sanitary towels/pads
  • Information on menstrual hygiene

Immediate partners

  • Kyaka II Project (Refugees)
  • Makapads (Technologies 4 Tomorrow)
  • Hope North Uganda
  • Kasiisi Project (girls support program)

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