As the world commemorates Menstrual Hygiene Day DAPP believes that promoting menstrual health and hygiene safeguards women’s dignity, privacy, bodily integrity and self-efficacy.  However, in Zimbabwe more than 3 million women and girls menstruate and the majority of them do not have proper and sufficient menstrual protection. According to the study by SNV Zimbabwe, 72% of menstruating schoolgirls do not use sanitary products simply because they cannot afford them. The study also showed that 62% of schoolgirls in Zimbabwe miss school every month due to lack of sanitary pads and 70% of these girls are not even aware of any sanitary pads brand on the market.

Period poverty is real and currently in Zimbabwe the biggest obstacle to using sanitary pads is affordability as one pack of pads costing for USD 1.00 or more, meaning that someone who has a heavy flow will need more than $3 which is difficult for some girls given the current economic conditions. Living in marginalized communities further complicates things as parents are fighting to put food on the table let alone find money for sanitary pads. Many women resort to using worn-out garments, newspapers and leaves, rags, cardboard, newspapers, tissues, socks, leaves, cow dung and other unsanitary means to try and manage their flows resulting in infections, leakages and discomfort.

An interview with adolescent girls highlighted that due to period poverty, the girls always fail to concentrate in class and sometimes miss school altogether because of the shame associated with soiling their clothes.   As DAPP, part of our work is to empower the community especially adolescents about menstrual hygiene and combating period poverty. We also initiate programs where we train adolescent girls and young women to make period-friendly sanitation reusable sanitary pads.

“In my community, girls and women have limited economic opportunities which exposes them to gender-based violence, early marriages, period poverty and HIV and AIDS. Faced with these realities, I decided to use my spare time to volunteer at Hope Bindura where I offer basic sewing training of reusable sanitary pads to local young girls” says Paidamoyo

“Through the support of HOPE Bindura, we trained 25 girls from Wayerera Secondary School and 6 girls at Ponesai Vanhu Children’s Home to make sanitary pads. I am enjoying the experience and improvement of period poverty by adolescent girls. I am looking forward to seeing all the trained girls and young women cascading and having their period with comfort.” says Paidamoyo.

Due to such training from Paida, most girls now feel relieved to have reusable sanitary pads for both personal use and income generation as well.

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