Officials at the launch of the plant

Pads Manufacturing Plant Launched To Keep Girls In School

Workers making sanitary pads
Workers making sanitary pads

By Insight Post Uganda

Mukono, Uganda

A manufacturing plant exclusively focused on producing sanitary pads was on Friday inaugurated. This milestone project, located in Namakwa within the Mukono district, is poised to significantly enhance the lives of up to 50,000 Ugandan girls and women every year.

Made possible by substantial grant funding from the Randal Charitable Foundation, this social enterprise endeavour was executed in collaboration with the Uganda Red Cross Society. The purpose behind this initiative is to manufacture 200,000 reusable sanitary pads annually.

This direct intervention aims to address the issue of missed educational opportunities for girls, who may lose as much as 18% of the academic year due to inadequate sanitary protection during their menstrual cycle.

Beyond merely addressing a basic need, this manufacturing plant endeavours to create locally-based employment opportunities, specifically for vulnerable girls and women. These individuals will be trained not only in the creation and promotion of the pads but also in the essential skills that will ensure the long-term viability of the facility.

The Keep a Girl In School (KAGIS) Manufacturing Plant was officially inaugurated on Friday, August 11, 2023. The ceremony was graced by prominent figures including the Secretary General of the Uganda Red Cross Society, Robert Kwesiga, Dr. Nik Kotecha OBE DL, Founder and Chairman of the Randal Charitable Foundation, and the Director of Basic and Secondary Education at the Ministry of Education and Sports in Uganda.

Dr. Kotecha, who has a personal connection to Uganda having emigrated as a refugee to the United Kingdom as a child, articulated, “For many women and girls, poor access to high-quality sanitary pads, as well as to toilets and washrooms, is a significant barrier to attending school and can severely limit future career choices.”

“The Randal Foundation is dedicated to enabling every young person to realise their full potential and equitable access to education for girls and boys is integral to this vision,” he stated, adding that they are also staunch proponents of uplifting communities from poverty through the creation of sustainable economic opportunities and employment.

According to Kotecha, the potent combination of addressing period poverty in young girls and unlocking their potential, while simultaneously generating local employment, underscores why we were enthusiastic to invest in making this project a reality.

In addition to funding the establishment of the manufacturing facility, the Randal Foundation’s investment extends to training and upskilling women and girls in the production and sale of sanitary pads, as well as in transferable business skills like administration and marketing. Furthermore, funding has been allocated to ensure effective supervision and monitoring.

Rachael McCormack, the Chief Operating Officer for the Randal Foundation, highlighted the project’s significance, stating, “This facility is especially dear to us due to our unwavering commitment to saving lives and markedly improving the quality of life for those in need both in the UK and around the world.”

“Period poverty is a global issue. Our community-based social enterprise, in conjunction with the URCS, is positioned to address this challenge right here in Uganda, he said, adding that absences from school have enduring adverse effects, often leading to missed employment and other opportunities later in life.

“We hope our project will enable more women to complete their education and make life choices that allow them to realise their true potential,” he stated.

Of the 200,000 pads manufactured annually, approximately 20% will be distributed free of charge to 10,000 vulnerable schoolgirls. The remaining 80% will be made available to the broader community at a subsidised price, ensuring the ongoing sustainability of the manufacturing facility.

Robert Kwesiga, Secretary General of Uganda Red Cross Society, commended the initiative, saying, “Keep A Girl in School is a Menstrual Health Management initiative that underscores the fact that girls are missing school due to lack of sanitary pads during their monthly cycle.”

According to Kwesiga, more partners, both public and private, are needed to support the initiative by purchasing reusable pads for donation from the newly established manufacturing plant, which aims to scale up production to reach even more women and girls in Uganda over the next three years.

This manufacturing plant also partners with She for She, an indigenous organisation committed to ensuring every young girl can attend school by improving access to pads and providing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights education.

As part of their long-term plan, the URCS aims to advocate for in-country factories to locally produce the necessary materials.

The Keep A Girl in School initiative falls within the URCS Health and Social Service Agenda under Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Interventions, playing a pivotal role in addressing critical issues related to health, education, protection, and security of women and adolescent girls.

About Period Poverty

Period poverty refers to the lack of access to adequate menstrual hygiene products, clean and safe sanitation facilities, and proper information about menstruation. It affects individuals, primarily women and girls, who cannot afford or access the necessary materials to manage their menstrual cycles in a healthy and dignified manner.

This can lead to adverse consequences such as missing school or work, health issues, and a general sense of shame and discomfort. Period poverty is a global issue that highlights the broader challenges surrounding gender equality, health, and social well-being.

Period poverty denotes the lack of access to safe means of managing menstruation, adversely impacting the education, health, and dignity of countless women and girls worldwide.

Uganda is no exception, as a lack of sanitation products, inadequate education, and stigma contribute to period poverty, leading to educational hindrances for menstruating students, who might miss up to 18% of a school year.

Addressing financial constraints, educational shortcomings, and stigma is crucial to combat period poverty. An intervention program encompassing accessible sanitation products and education stands as a recommended measure to counter this gender disparity among girls.


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