Limited access to proper care and information about menstruation— “period poverty”—deprives multitudes of girls around with the world of weeks of school each year. In Tanzania, period poverty is believed to be the single largest barrier to girls’ completion of education.1
For many, disposable pads are too expensive. Girls resort to unhygienic materials instead, increasing the risk of a host of other health issues and even more disruption to their schooling. Unfortunately, social taboos and lack of counseling prevent schools from helping girls find workable alternatives to staying home during their periods. As Elle Peut Naidim (‘She can, I can’), a social impact group in the Arusha District, writes, “most schools lack adequate material resources to provide menstrual materials, safe places to change, and access to educational programming to help overcome this immense hurdle.”
The Whole Child Model exists to create the conditions of success for every child. STS partnered with Elle Peut Naidim and WomenChoice Industries to organize a menstrual health hygiene campaign at our focus school. Together, we educated girls on menstrual hygiene management and distributed locally produced, reusable menstrual pads.
Girls and teachers also reported changes in attendance following the workshop. We will continue to track this and other potential impacts of the workshop over the coming year.