Malawi: Fighting Period Poverty in Rural Schools

More than 75% of girls attending rural schools in Malawi lack knowledge about menstruation and cannot afford personal hygiene products.

Instead of inaccessible or too expensive sanitary pads, they use random materials (such as rags, leaves, plastic bags) which are ineffective and can cause infections. This results in them missing school during menstruation (for a week every month – almost a month in one semester), leading to academic setbacks and dropping out of school, consequently resulting in forced early marriages, unwanted pregnancies, and complicated – due to their very young age – births. In this way, the lack of sanitary pads prevents girls from completing their education, and consequently – breaking the cycle of poverty and improving their quality of life.

Within our project, girls receive locally made reusable sanitary pads, underwear, and soap, enabling them to safely manage menstruation every month, maintain their health, and participate in classes. Educational sessions, along with the distribution of leaflets on menstrual cycle and hygiene, help dispel myths and taboos surrounding period and provide girls with necessary knowledge about women’s bodies and reproductive health.

The project aims to reduce girls’ school absences, support their education, and strengthen their self-esteem and dignity. Purchasing reusable pads from small, local workshops run by women stimulates the local economy and enhances women’s economic empowerment. Additionally, by opting for reusable solutions, we protect the environment and contribute to reducing the overall plastic footprint.

So far, the project has been implemented in 2 schools: Malembe Primary School and Senzani Primary School, but it is ongoing in nature, so as funds become available, we will extend it to other rural schools as well. Every donation matters greatly, so we warmly encourage your support for our fight against menstrual poverty in Malawi. 

Global Giving: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/end-period-poverty-in-malawi/