Tag Archives: sanitary napkins

Oxford researchers say African girls need just two things to stay in school

Oxford researchers say African girls need just two things to stay in school. Quartz, December 21, 2016.

Social scientists and educators have experimented with many ways to incentivize girls from low-income backgrounds in developing countries to stay in school including providing lunch, bicycles, and toiletsschools

While there has been considerable improvement in getting girls to enroll in primary schools, it’s proven harder to keep school attendance up in higher grades. In Uganda, 91% girls are enrolled in primary schools, but that figure falls to 22% for secondary schools.

Now a new study led by Paul Montgomery, a professor of psychosocial intervention at Oxford University, shows that there’s a pretty simple way to boost secondary school attendance in girls in Africa: give them sanitary pads and lessons on puberty.

The new paper, published Dec. 21 in PLOS One, builds on a 2008 pilot study in Ghana, also carried out by Oxford researchers, which showed that the first instance of menstruation triggered a drop in school attendance for young girls. The researchers note that in several developing countries, there is a stigma attached to menstruation and that girls are seen as “dirty” while on their period—one of the main reasons they stay home from school at the time. It’s also often difficult for girls in rural areas to find sanitary pads; many rely on absorbent cloth, which can leak and stain school uniforms.

Read the complete article.

SCA marketing small packages of hygiene products – diapers, sanitary napkins and toilet paper

Global hygiene and paper company SCA has started offering low-cost hygiene products in small packages in Latin America and Asia. Similar projects are being planned in Africa and the Middle East. Items being sold include diapers, sanitary napkins and toilet paper.

For many people with low incomes, using hygiene products on a regular basis is too expensive. That’s the case with diapers, which many children use only at night or on special occasions. In Latin America SCA produces individually packaged Pequeñin diapers, each sealed in a thin layer of plastic. […] “Business owners often break open packages and sell the diapers individually, which is less hygienic.” In Asia, too, SCA sells diapers in small packages.

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India, Kerala: girls’ school in Ernakulam first to get e-toilet

A government girls’ school in Ernakulam, Kerala, will soon be the first school in the country to get an electronic public toilet.

This is part of the suchi@school (Sustainable Comprehensive Hygiene Initiative) project, an initiative of local CPI (M) Member of Parliament comrade P. Rajeev. The project aims to ensure adequate sanitation facilities – toilets and urinals – in all government and government-aided schools in Ernakulam district.

A number of schools will be fitted with e-toilets, which have automatic doors and will self-clean after each use. Where water is scarce, recycling units using biomembrane reactors will be installed.

There are also plans for installing electronic sanitary napkin disposal systems.

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Uganda: free sanitary pad school project

School children (both girls and boys) in Uganda’s northern Amuru and Gulu regions are being taught how to make sanitary pads using cheap, locally available materials. This is one of the measures being undertaken to increase girls’ retention in primary schools.  Only 38 per cent of eligible girls are enrolled in primary schools in Gulu in 2011, against a national rate of 70 per cent.

Pupils take measurements of a cotton cloth to be used to make sanitary pads. Photo: Charles Akena/IRIN

The reusable sanitary pads are made from soft cotton cloth covered with polythene to protect leakage. The pads can  be washed and last several months. Local shops stock sanitary pads that cost on average 5,000 Ugandan shillings (about US$2.50) a packet, which is too expensive for most rural families in northern Uganda.

Besides a lack of sanitary pads, few or no private toilet facilities for girls as well as a shortage of female teachers are said to contribute to adolescent girls’ absenteeism from school.

Development partners are helping to build changing rooms for girls in some schools, training female teachers on guidance and counselling skills and are supporting the production and free distribution of sanitary pads.

At Awich Primary School, where the project was launched in 2010, girls’ enrolment has increased from 268 in 2010 to 310 in 2011.

Source: IRIN, 21 Jul 2011

India, Nagaland: sanitary napkin vending machines installed in schools

Inauguration sanitary napkin vending machine

Photo: Eastern Mirror newspaper

Automatic sanitary napkin vending machines have been installed in five schools in Kohima district, Nagaland, as part of India’s total sanitation campaign. The installation was an initiative of the Communication and Capacity Devlopment Unit of Nagaland’s Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) and the Sulabh School Sanitation Clubs (SSSC), New Delhi, in collaboration with the School Education Department. The sanitary napkins cost about (US$ Rs. 3 (6.7 US dollar cents) each.

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India, Tamil Nadu: promoting menstrual hygiene in the slums

Women of slums in the city [of Tiruchi] are awakening to the significance of personal hygiene, thanks to the efforts of three women from different self help groups advocating the use of sanitary napkins for better menstrual health.

Women from around ten slums […] have switched over to sanitary napkins, after being enlightened on its benefits.

S.Jacqueline, N.Sathyavani and A.Fathima embarked on a door-to-door campaign in slums three years ago, creating awareness on safe menstrual practices and the use of sanitary napkins. The women were trained by WEAT (Women Entrepreneurs Association of Tamil Nadu) and were assisted in procurement of production machines by the People’s Development Initiative (PDI).

Self help group members selling sanitary napkins to women in a slum near Sangiliyandapuram in Tiruchi.

Self help group members selling sanitary napkins to women in a slum near Sangiliyandapuram in Tiruchi. Photo: R. Ashok

The production unit at Rural Mart, which started with 30 napkins a week, today produces an average of 200 pieces a day. Raw materials are purchased in bulk for five months from Rajapalyam at subsidised rates. They also sell their products in schools, colleges and through vending machines stationed at offices and institutions.

The cost of a packet of six pieces is Rs. 15 [32 US dollar cents] and single pieces are sold at an average of Rs. 2.50 per napkin [5 US dollar cents]. “We want to bring down the price to Rs. 1.50 [3 US dollar cents] per piece. We need advanced machines for which we are planning to approach financial institutions for loans,” said Ms. Sathyavani

The trio visit each slum weekly to distribute the napkins and to create awareness on safe menstrual practises . “Despite our persuasion, nearly 50 percent of the women are hesitant to use sanitary napkins, preferring the use of rags,” said Ms.Jacqueline. The main reason cited by these women is lack of facilities to dispose or replace napkins in their place of work, primarily building sites. Thirty women from districts like Salem, Erode and Dindigul have been trained so far. N.Manimekalai, Head, Department of Women Studies, Bharathidasan University, siad that the napkins produced are sterilised and WEAT would apply for BSI certification at the earliest.

Source: Olympia Shilpa Gerald, The Hindu, 17 Jul 2010

India: scheme for low-cost sanitary napkins to rural girls approved

The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry on [15 June 2010] approved a scheme for providing highly subsidised sanitary napkins to adolescent girls in the rural areas to promote menstrual hygiene. The scheme, to be launched in 150 districts across the country in the first phase, will cost Rs. 150 crore [Rs 1.5 billion = US$ 32.2 million] for the current financial year.

Approved by the Mission Steering Group – the highest decision-making body – of the National Rural Health Mission, at its sixth meeting here, the scheme envisages covering 1.5-crore [15 million] girls in the age group of 10-19 years every month. Of this, the approximate number of APL girls is 105 lakh [10.5 million] while that of the BPL category is 45 lakh [4.5 million]. The napkins will be supplied to the below poverty line (BPL) girls at a nominal cost of Rs.1 [2.15 US dollar cents] per pack of six while those girls living above poverty line (APL) will have to pay Rs.5 [10.7 US dollar cents] per pack.

Limited access

In India, menstruation and menstrual practices are clouded by taboos and socio-cultural restrictions for women as well as adolescent girls. Limited access to safe sanitary products and facilities is believed to be one of the reasons for constrained school attendance, high dropout rates and ill health due to infection.

Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Bihar, Rajasthan and Puducherry have already taken similar initiatives to promote menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls.

The 150 districts identified in the first phase include 30 from the four southern States, Maharashtra and Gujarat and 120 from northern, central and the north-eastern States. In the first year, the Centre will procure the napkins and supply these to the States that will in turn send these to Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) in the districts for distribution on a monthly basis or to the schools which will become distribution points for students.

As an incentive, ASHA will get one pack free every month in addition to Rs.50 [US$ 1] per meeting she holds on a Sunday for creating awareness regarding menstrual hygiene among girls. Subsequently, States can choose to involve self-help groups for manufacturing and marketing sanitary napkins. At least 50 districts with a strong network of SHGs will be involved in the manufacture of napkins in the first phase itself. The ASHAs will procure sanitary napkins from the sub-centre for which she will be given Rs.300 from the untied fund. Each month, ASHA will replenish the imprest fund with the amount collected through the sale of napkins.

Safe disposal

For safe disposal of the napkins at the community level, deep-pit burial or burning are the options being considered. Due environmental clearance has to be obtained from the States for this. Installing incinerators in schools that can be manually operated is another option. Consultations are on with the Ministry of Environment and Forests for use of environment-friendly raw material and disposal mechanism.

States have been given the option of leveraging funds for incinerators through the Total Sanitation Campaign of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

The scheme will be expanded to other districts after the outcome of the first phase is evaluated. In that case, the States will be asked to contribute 15 per cent of the cost. The scheme can also be transferred to the Ministries of Women and Child Development and Rural Development at a later stage for self-financing and self-sustaining that will reduce the budgetary support.

Source: The Hindu, 16 Jun 2010

Sudan, Mundri: better hygiene means more girls stay in school

Many girls who do manage to go school in South Sudan, are forced to stay home one week a month – that’s three months a year, because there is no money to buy sanitary napkins. The Swedish SCA group, through its brands Libresse, Edet and Tork, is sponsoring a project by Oxfam Novib and Mundri Relief and Development Association (MRDA) to improve school sanitation in South Sudan.

Together with MRDA, Libresse is providing scholarships to girls and comfort kits, hygiene bags that include sanitary napkins, soap, underwear and washing powder. Edet is financing the construction of school toilets in the Mundri region of South Sudan. Tork is providing rainwater harvesting systems, soap and handwashing facilities.

The budget for the three-year project (2010-2012) in Mundri is 4.5 million and aims to cover 55 schools and build 16 rainwater harvesting systems. SCA and Oxfam Novib launched their partnership on 17 March 2010. Libresse and Edet are donating part of the proceeds from the sale of their personal hygiene products (sanitary napkins, toilet paper and tissues) to the project. Consumers who buy the products are also encouraged to donate money to the project through Oxfam Novib.

Libresse and Edet have launched campaign web sites for the Mundri school sanitation project. The media campaign also includes a promotional TV commercial that is currently airing on Dutch TV.

In March 2010, SCA’s Tempo brand donated 200,000 Euros to WaterAid for water and sanitation projects in Uganda.

Campaign web sites (in Dutch): Oxfam Novib ; SCA Hygiene Helpt ; Edet helpt ; Libresse helpt ; Tork helpt

See below a Oxfam Novib promotional video and the TV commercial for the school sanitation project in Mundri that is currently airing on Dutch TV.

India, West Bengal: hygiene matters – self-help group manufactures cheap sanitary napkins

For several communities in India, menstruation is an excuse to treat women as `untouchables’ for seven days a month, and denied the right to participate in social customs. But women in the backward Purulia district of West Bengal have managed to destroy taboos related to the monthly cycle through a project that aims at providing better sanitation and hygiene. It also allows some women to earn money.

[…] “We belong to poor families. With low water levels in this district, income from farming is minimal. We could not afford the Rs 80-100 needed for napkins. Also, our parents would have found the whole idea indecent, decadent,” [Kalpana Kuiri, 31] says.

[…] Then last year in June [2007], the District Rural Development Cell (DRDC) and UNICEF jointly mooted a proposal for a sanitary napkin production centre at Purulia to provide cheap sterilised napkins and advocacy on personal hygiene. […] “I started making about Rs 1,500 a month from my work at the centre. The other women then started asking me how they could join in. Even their husbands became interested. They were willing to overlook the `menstruation’ aspect for the income,” recalls Mita Das, 31, of Chapuri village, one of the first to join the project. The sanitary napkin production centre revolutionised the social perception of personal hygiene in the district.

[…] Each month, the 30 women work on the two sterilisation machines to produce about 900 sanitary napkin packets. Besides retailing, the centre supplies napkins for hospitals, schools and SHGs.

[…] The women, who were trained in Chennai, have not limited themselves to sanitary napkins. As a step ahead, they have now started production of District Dai Kits (DDK) for hospitals and midwives.

Source: Ajitha Menon, Women’s Feature Service / The Hindu Business Line, 05 Dec 2008

India: Tamil Nadu town experiences sanitation revolution

KRISHNAGIRI (Tamil Nadu): Even in the crucial 10th standard, Malini (not the real name) used to stay away from school at least three days a month. So did about 150 other students of the Mekalachinnampalli rural girls’ high school, 10 km from Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu, during their menstrual periods. Today however, the school registers no absenteeism, as the girls walk up to a sanitary vending machine, get a napkin for Rs2 and confidently walk into the classrooms.

A silent ‘sanitation revolution’ is sweeping Krishnagiri, among the most backward districts in the country, as a Unicef-supported programme aims at making sanitary napkins available to 90,000 adolescent girls through vending machines and special counters in schools. Experts say this simple step will have long-reaching benefits in a district with high infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate and gynaecological problems linked to poor menstrual hygiene.

Link to the Daily News & Analysis article