This is the activity report on the baseline survey of our project 'Combatting Menstrual Hygiene Management Challenges to Stop Adolescent Girls’School Dropouts in Uganda'.
The project was designed to combat high rates of school dropouts among girls in Uganda.
Many girls cannot afford buying sanitary pads during their menstruation and try rudimentary methods like old clothes.The boys bully girls when they have blood leak and which makes it very inconvenient for the girls to continue attending school due to fear.
To respond to the above problem, we start our project.In order to implement our project effectively, we carried out the baseline survey for school girls to understand their current situation. This assessment was implemented by SORAK, which is a local NGO operating in rural areas.
***Abridged Baseline Study Report***
Girls at Precious child center listen to a briefing
before the assessment at Precious child learning center
The study was between 3rd- 4th April 2017 targeting three primary schools; Precious Child Learning Centre- an NGO operated for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC), St. Josephs Kibalinga- government aided and catholic founded and Lwawuna Primary School – a government aided and Muslim founded.
This assessment aimed at establishing the knowledge attitudes, practices of menstrual hygiene management among rural ‘in school’ adolescent girls in order to benchmark the existing situation for future informed intervention. The findings will further provide valuable information that is necessary for the planning and designing better and effective girl child friendly intervention projects: which is necessary for vulnerable girls’ completion of basic education and enhancement of women empowerment. A team of four females conducted this study: Emilly Katamujuna- Team leader, Hadijah Nakiruuta – SORAK programs manager, Elizabeth Nakinobe and Milly Nalugya - research assistants during the assessment.
A research assistant explains at Precious child learning center
MethodologyThe study took the form of interviewer-administered questionnaires due to the low literacy levels of the interviewees. It commenced with a 30 minutes briefing about the topic of the assessment where girls who had started on their menstrual cycle were the only ones targeted.
The study targeted only girls and by only women. First, we took girls through:
· What is Menstruation and what causes it?
· Challenges girls face during menstruation.
· Menstruation bodily and emotional changes before and during menstruation.
· Menstruation proper hygiene management and care.
· Demonstrated how to wear a pad (disposable and re-usable pads).
· A brief explanation on how different girls react for instance; fears, terrified, and feel out of place and that everyone’s eyes are on her. They will either miss school or come to school tying their bums with additional clothing like sweaters.
|Team leader –Emilly and team talks to girls before commencing |
with the assessment at St. Josephs'Kibalinga Primary School
The study targeted 150 girls who were already undergoing menstruation. However, we reached only 84 girls altogether, where, 04 girls were from Precious Child Learning Centre, 43 girls from St. Josephs Kibalinga, 37 girls from Lwawuna primary school, because this was the only number of girls in the three schools who were undergoing menstruation at the time of the study. In addition, the study took place after primary seven girls had left school yet these form the majority of girls experiencing menstruation.
Among the challenges:
1. The questionnaires had so many questions/a large number of questions, pupils almost lost concentration towards the end.
2. Some girls do not know their age and the date of birth and months.
3. Some girls lack adequate knowledge concerning their menstruations. For example, some of them do not know the number of days each of their menstruation period lasts and the average number of weeks are there between the start of one period and the start of the next period
Research assistant shows sanitary pad to girls
at St. Josephs’ Kibalinga Primary school
However, to reduce the bias such challenges could have on our study results, we gave girls enough time for them to reflect on their past menstruation period to estimate the dates when it could have started and ended. The study team also provided adequate time and explanations in order to come up with concrete data; at Kibalinga Primary School where the assessment went up to 6.30pm instead of ending by 1:00 pm as initially planned. In other schools, namely Lwawuna and Precious Child Learning Centre, the study was between 9.00 am to 1:00 pm as earlier planned. This is because, the study team could learn from day one experience at St, Josephs Kibalinga Primary school. Overall, the study succeeded because both the girls and school management were very interested and cooperative.
Lessons learnt by the study team:
· When dealing with adolescent girls we need to get consent from their parents, this will be crucial when we start sex education, gender awareness and re-usable sanitary pad making. This is because talking about sex is traditionally a taboo and when parents learn that we are teaching their children sex education they could miss understand that we are teaching children immorality.
· Parents are very shy and hesitate to talk about menstruation with their children. The assessment indicated that girls fear to talk about sex and need to get authority from parents. Thus, we need to engage parents during training of reusable sanitary pad making, sex education and menstrual hygiene management as well as gender awareness activities. When parents attend such activities, they will discover and appreciate that what the project is doing is for the good of their children.
In conclusion, based on the above lessons learnt, the plan is to involve one parent – a woman with a tailoring machine from each school. These can work with teachers and children to make the project sustainable. We have learnt from another success in Mityana district where a parent involved has made sanitary pad making a success. Therefore, as regards the sanitary pad-making project, we will bring in one-woman parent with a sewing machine per school.
Girls look at research assistants demonstrating sanitary pad
at Lwawuna primary school
Being a developing country, Uganda still faces setbacks due to various socio-economic challenges and as compared to developed countries,
vulnerable groups including adolescent girls in poverty are going through very harsh conditions. We are committed to continue supporting Uganda’s school girls in order to create a conducive environment to ensure that these girls can stay in schools during their menstruation and complete their education.
Here is the report on baseline survey,
MHM Baseline Survery Report _April 2017.pdf
We really appreciate your any support and cooperation!!