LIDEISA REUSABLE SANITARY PADS

For centuries, menstruation has been a hidden topic dealt with in silence, rarely spoken about and then only in female group(s) as well as a topic of shame and embarrassment due to stigma internalized by individuals and later reproduced in communities across Uganda.

It’s true-life that adolescent girls and women face wide-ranging challenges during their monthly, normal menstruation periods which prevent them from realizing their rights especially to education and contributing to communities;

A widespread situation of silence and indignity due to menstrual stigma which reduces health outcomes, well-being and self-esteem

Lack of correct information about menstruation at home or school, with information based on changing social norms and cultural beliefs.

A resulting set of extensive restrictions that prevent girls from taking part in normal daily activities such as family life, education and participation in social activities.

Multiple barriers at schools including a lack of running water, at times, inadequate or lack of sanitary facilities/infrastructure, lack of bins for disposal and a lack of emergency supplies of menstrual materials.

LEDEISA Pads

Period absenteeism

Many girls are socially stigmatized due cultural norms and practices as well as poor or total lack of sanitary facilities/infrastructure in and out-of-schools to safely menstruate.

Coupled with biting poverty, temporally girls’ absenteeism and eventual rising girls’ school dropout rates, become obvious!

Statistical references

  • 23% of Ugandan Girls between 12-18 years dropout of school when they begin menstruation-study on status of menstrual health management by Ministry of Education, 2019
  • 28% is the absenteeism rate for girls when they are on their periods compared to 7% absenteeism rate when girls are not menstruating-New Vision
  • 6,234,532 (million[s]) girls went through 15 primary school cycles, (P.1-P.7) between 1997-2009, but 3, 347, 348 (53.6%) completed P.7 while 2,896,184 (46%) dropped out- National Examinations Board (UNEB) and Education and Sports sector annual performance (ESSAPRs)(2017)
  • Those figures show, girls’ dropout rate in period under review, was above the general dropout rate which stood at 42.8%

The most affected girls are those hailing from poor families whose parents can hardly afford basic requirements to retain their girls in schools without any interruptions.

Girls who choose to endure the horrible environment associated with menstruation, are forced to settle for unhygienic methods. Girls use pieces of clothes, while others improvise with cloth nappies used by their young siblings. Some girls find it even harder to the extent that they use dry leaves in attempt to soak up the blood in natural emergency situations.

SOLUTION

Reusable LIDEISA sanitary pads, therefore, exist to holistically tackle key issues standing in girls’ pursuit for equal opportunities through education with male counterparts-including menstrual stigma and taboo.

LIDEISA reusable sanitary pads give girls and other stakeholders correct information about menstruation and clarify negative cultural or social norms and societal beliefs associated with menstruation so all girls can be freed from unnecessary stigma and its negative impacts.

LIDEISA reusable sanitary pads consider access to safe and dignified menstruation, a major need for especially all school-going girls to retain them in education cycle to completion to free their potential. LIDEISA reusable sanitary pads visualizes a Uganda where every girl can go to school without any impediments attributable to period poverty and most importantly, safeguard her own health without fear of experiencing shame, or unnecessary barriers to information or supplies during menstruation. We know that meeting the hygiene needs of all adolescent girls and women in all settings enables realization of human rights, dignity, and public health.

Improving Menstrual Health Management (MHM) becomes a vital part of LIDEISA sanitary pads’ promise to enable all girls achieve their full potential through ensuring that girls grow up healthy.

This justifies our endeavor to improve both girls’ and women’s confidence, knowledge, and skills and improve access to materials and facilities, for them to manage their menstruation safely, with dignity.

WHAT WE DO

  1. Reusable LIDEISA reusable sanitary pads: Access to cheap, yet quality, appropriate hygienic sanitary pads to manage menstruation is still hard for most especially, school-going girls. LIDEISA reusable sanitary pads works to ensure that especially, school-going girls and women have access to affordable reusable sanitary pads.
  2. Training Girls in Making Reusable Sanitary Pads: despite being cheap, we are alive to a fact that not all girls can have money to afford LIDEISA re-usable sanitary pads as and when need arises yet our overarching goal is to ensure that every girl go to school without any interruptions by period poverty. To fix this societal issue, LIDEISA reusable sanitary pads moves out to train and empower adolescent girls with major focus on rural areas of Uganda with skills on how to make re-usable sanitary pads by themselves and manage menstruation cycles without necessarily wait for LIDEISA again.
  3. Social Support: Girls should be able to partake in daily activities during their period without being subjected to stigma or exclusion from peers, parents, teachers, or community leaders. Community involvement, which specifically includes boys and men, and traditional and religious leaders, is key to changing negative beliefs. However, in Uganda, school girls especially in rural areas, many girls and women face inequitable attitudes and beliefs around menstruation that lead them to experience their periods with shame and embarrassment. LIDIESA reusable sanitary pads make an intervention to break the myths, surrounding menstruation through building and or reinforcing adolescents’ confidence and talking to stakeholders.
  4. Knowledge and Skills: Many girls reach menstrual period age while lacking requisite information about menstruation, causing fear and tension. The information may come too late, after a girl has had her first period, or not at all, due to taboos around puberty education linked to sexual and reproductive health. Before girls reach puberty, they require knowledge about the menstrual cycle on top of taking them through acceptable ways and skills to safely and privately manage menstruation. They also need to be cautioned on the pain that they may feel during menstruation period. Boys on the other hand, need knowledge about the changes to their bodies and those of their female peers, delivered in a way that cultivates solidarity and builds social support. Teachers, parents, and traditional leaders have a similar need for accurate information, so that they are in a better position to support girls as they approach menarche and during menstruation. LIDEISA reusable sanitary pads performs this noble duty to make stakeholders, especially girls knowledgeable and skilled handlers of menstruation.
  5. Facilities and Services: Girls and women frequently lack supportive facilities-including water, toilets, and disposal mechanisms to manage their menstruation especially at school and in other public institutions such as healthcare facilities. This forms a big barrier to school attendance, resulting into girls’ absenteeism and eventually indefinite school drop-out.

To LIDEISA reusable sanitary pads, MHM facilities and services ought to be established in a sustainable, safe and appropriate manner. Environmentally friendly, culturally-appropriate, safe and efficient hygiene and waste management approaches should be based on the best solution depending on the context. Therefore, WASH facilities and reliable services must allow especially girls to safely, comfortably, and privately manage menstruation and must be accessible to girls and women with disabilities. This is why, LIDEISA reusable sanitary pads advocate for provision of facilities and services in schools, and public institutions, working with duty bearers therein.

ABOUT LIDEISA REUSABLE SANITARY PADS

These are hygiene materials made and packed by LIDE Infinite Skills Africa (LIDEISA) used by girls and women to catch menstrual flow.

Waste management and environmental impacts: LIDEISA reusable sanitary pads are environmentally friendly as they are reused and are mostly made from natural fabrics.

Affordability: LIDEISA reusable sanitary pads are cheaper which makes them affordable to all girls

Description: LIDEISA reusable sanitary pads are worn externally to the body in the underwear/knicker(s) to absorb menstrual flow and held in place usually by snaps. They are made from a variety of natural materials. After use, they are washed, dried and re-used preferably for one year.

Packaging: LIDEISA reusable sanitary pads are not bulky

USER INSTRUCTIONS

1. Wash with soap and clean water, allow LIDEISA reusable sanitary pad to dry completely, before first use.

2. Place LIDEISA pad in the underwear/knickers(s) with the absorbent side facing up (pad must be worn in properly fitting knicker(s).

3. Close the fastening mechanism and wear. Ensure to check and change LIDEISA reusable sanitary pads as needed throughout the day.

4. After use, soak LIDEISA sanitary pad in water. Pour away dirty water.

5. In clean water, wash LIDEISA reusable sanitary pad, clean with soap. Rub thoroughly, ensuring that LIDEISA reusable sanitary pad’s absorbent layer has been sufficiently scrubbed clean.

6. Soak the LIDEISA reusable sanitary pad again.

Partnership for a Justified Cause

Given the magnitude of challenge menstruation, and its impact on girls’ education, LIDEISA reusable sanitary pads recognizes the need for concerted efforts from all stakeholders because winning this challenge calls for many hands. It is in this line, LIDEISA re-usable pads, always seek to establish multidimensional partnerships to reach as many girls as possible.

LIDEISA reusable sanitary pads believe that combination of hands-on skills and keeping girls in education cycle will go a long way in accelerating #SDGs agenda because girls and other stakeholders will be helped to improve courage, creativity, and self-efficacy, alongside practical application of knowledge to create sustainable development without leaving anyone behind.

We are also aware of the girls and women with different types of disabilities who may have specific preferences depending on their situation. We therefore, have a plan of increasing availability and choice of reusable sanitary pads, considering affordability, sustainability, and disposal.

Fundamentally, through its action-based and advocacy work around proper Menstruation Health Management, LIDEISA reusable Sanitary pads work to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs)-including 3 which calls for ensuring “healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages,” 4 which works to ensure “inclusive education and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all.”

Other SDGs aligned to LIDEISA reusable Sanitary pads are; 5 which strives to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls,” 6 that works to ensure “availability and sustainability of water and sanitation by all,” 8 which strives to “promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all,” 12 that calls for “sustainable consumption and production”, 13 that is skewed on “climate action” and 17, which provides for “partnership for the goals.”

Support LIDEISA

LIDEISA believes that combination of hands-on skills, retaining girls in education cycle to completion and leadership mentorship will go a long way in accelerating efforts to achieve #SDGs especially 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 12, 13, 17. We exist to help all our trainees to improve courage, creativity, and self-eficacy alongside practical application of knowledge to create sustainable development without leaving anyone behind.