UNFPA through a United Nations Joint Program on Girls Education JPGE) project, has trained mother groups drawn from different schools in Salima on how to sew sanitary pads for school going girls.
The week long training is aimed at ensuring that girls do not drop out of school due to menstrual period.
UN Program Policy Officer for Salima District, Linda Assani, said the training was important as it will help reduce dropout rate of girls in the district due to monthly periods.
Assani said many girls in the district miss classes when they are menstruating, a development she said, makes some of them completely drop out of school.
“We saw it important to train the mother groups in pad sewing so that they distribute them freely to girls in schools and it is also a way of empowering the women to be self-reliant.
“The women will be selling some of the pads to other people when they have surplus so that the money realized should be used to run their business structures,” she said.
After the training, the mother groups will be given start up materials that will help them start making the reusable pads which Assani said said are cheaper than the disposable ones.
“We have empowered them as women and at the same time the skills gained will help us keep young girls in school which is the main objective of the project.
This time around the women will be making the pads with sewing machines a development we feel is good and efficient,” said Assani.
Previously mother groups have been distributing handmade sanitary pads to girls in schools which Assani said was time consuming and a slow process.
One of the participants from Napache School, Mary Chimbiri, commended the initiative saying it will help them produce enough pads for the girls and for sale.
“Sewing pads with needles was a tiresome job to us and time consuming because we could make one pad the whole day,”
She added, “Now that we have been trained using sewing machines, our duty has been simplified as we will be making a minimum of ten pads per person each day.”
Selina Chikopa, a learner at Ngodzi Primary School, said she has been facing challenges to buy disposable sanitary pads every month a development she said made her use locally sourced napkins like pieces of cloth which she said gave her discomfort hence classes whenever she was menstruating.
She told MANA that her life changed when mother groups from her school started distributing the pads freely thereby retaining many girls in school.
The UN Joint Program on Girls Education is a project whose aim is to improve access, quality and relevance of education for girls through addressing key known threats to girls’ education which include absenteeism during menstrual period among others.
Districts involved in the project include Salima, Mangochi and Dedza. The project is supported by Norwegian government through UNFPA, UNICEF and WFP.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :