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How you’re helping girls access their right to health and hygiene

For years, the internal conflict between government and rebel forces in South Sudan has triggered instability, violence and mass killings within the country. This has led to one of the largest population movements recorded worldwide, with an estimated 1.5 million internally displaced persons and 2.2 million refugees, the majority of which have fled to neighbouring Uganda. The massive influx of refugees has stretched the already scarce resources of Uganda to the limit.

For many young women and girls, leaving their war-torn homes overnight meant leaving all their belongings behind. In today’s COVID-19 reality, the link between illness and hygiene practices has never been more apparent. But, with the help of Because I am a Girl supporters, young women and girls were able to get dignity kits, and training in menstrual health management and sexual reproductive health.

girls smiling with their dignity kits.

School girls receive their dignity kits

A total of 9,000 dignity kits were distributed to women, schoolgirls and out-of-school girls, thanks to #TeamGirl members like you. Each kit contains undergarments, a packet of reusable sanitary pads, a bar of soap, nail clippers, a bucket and a carrying bag for keeping their items. Supporting the distribution of the dignity kits, girls from the refugee settlements and host communities were trained on menstrual hygiene management, sexual reproductive health, and were also trained on how to make and maintain their own reusable sanitary pads. These reusable pads are great not only because the girls can keep making them, but because they are also more economical and environmentally friendly than disposable pads.

"Reusable pads do not cost as much as disposable ones do, and I can use them again and again."
– Helen, a student
UGD
UGD

In schools, the monthly menstrual hygiene management and sexual reproductive health training sessions were delivered by male and female school teachers who were initially trained by Plan International's staff. This inclusive approach of having teachers of both genders involved in training helps to normalize menstrual health and destroy stigmas.

“While receiving dignity kits, we were taught how to use the pads in the kits and about menstrual hygiene and reproductive health. The sessions were very nice and we need more of them.”
– Vicky, 17

The monthly sessions aimed to equip girls and boys with knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to realize their health, develop healthy relationships and make informed choices for their lives. They help girls have more ownership over their bodies and better manage their health, while also helping reduce the cases of menstrual-related bullying.

Collectively, these activities – made possible through the generosity and solidarity of our #TeamGirl members – are now helping girls living in some of the most challenging contexts in our world, improve their health, safety and awareness. With your help, girls across Uganda can now have one less worry, and are unleashing the freedom and confidence to embrace their equal power with the support of their new or long-time home communities. Thank you for bringing hope, empowerment and equal opportunity to a dire situation and having girls’ backs through it all.

girls smiling

 


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