Many girls in Uganda lack access to sanitary pads and basic reproductive health information. As they reach puberty, they can miss up to six weeks of school a year due to menstruation. Getting behind and dropping out of school limits their socio-economic possibilities and continues the cycle of poverty; leaving them susceptible to diseases – especially HIV, unplanned teenage pregnancies, and forced early marriage.
KFNL provides vital health education, knickers (underwear) and MakaPads through school partnerships in Uganda. We also provide funds for separate latrines and handwash stations if needed by our schools. These practical projects make it possible for girls to safely stay in school and gain the knowledge necessary for a healthier future.
Challenging facts that motivate our projects:
- Eighty-five percent (85%) of Ugandans live in rural poverty — earning an average of $300 a year.
- More than 50% of the population is under 15 years old.
- Fewer than 38% of girls entering primary school will complete their primary education. Educating girls is widely regarded as one of the best ways to improve the economy and health of developing countries. However, girls in Uganda consistently fare less well academically than boys. Academic performance correlates closely with school attendance, and drop out rates are high for rural Ugandan girls for reasons often linked to their reproductive biology.
- Uganda has among the highest teen pregnancy rates in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Over 30% of Ugandan girls have their first baby by the time they are 18.
- HIV infection rates are 9 times higher in girls than boys the same age.
- Uganda has one of the highest maternal death rates in the world, 25% of which are from unsafe abortions.
- Studies have shown that each additional year of education for girls reduces their risk of HIV infection by 7% and delays the age of first pregnancy by a year.
Links for further reading:
Tampons Are a Justice Issue
That time of the month shouldn’t mean missing school – period
MakaPads Helping Disadvantaged Girls And Women In Uganda
East Africa Breaks the Silence on Menstruation to Keep Girls in School
What Do Menstruating Girls Need in Schools?
Making hand washing a habit: What stands in the way?
Men asked to support girls during menstrual periods