East Africa Projects

In East Africa the landscape for accessing period products is very different to the UK but the same difficulties regarding stigmatisation, misinformation and gender inequalities associated with periods also exist.

For women and girls, particularly those in rural areas, it can be difficult or even impossible to obtain products, and even when they are available through commercial sale, they are incredibly expensive comparable to the cost of living.

Through internal monitoring and existing data, we know that young women and girls struggle to access products. Without suitable menstrual protection many girls miss or even drop out of school altogether. The impact of period poverty in this context leads to transactional sex in order to pay for products, a misunderstanding of menstruation leading to teenage pregnancies, lower educational attainment and an impact on socio-economic opportunities.

The work that Freedom4Girls do through our East Africa projects is both the donation of washable-reusable period pad packs and the delivery of an education programme, (more information below).

The period pad packs last up to three years, allowing a young woman or girl to stay in school experiencing her periods safely, comfortably and with dignity. And the best part about it… they only cost £7 to make!

Can you support a young woman or girl with three years of menstrual protection by donating just £7- the cost of one of our reusable period pad packs?

Kenya

Our work in Kenya has grown exponentially since inception in 2016.

We have delivered over 10,000 period packs to schools, communities, women and girls in the four years of our practice.

In Kenya, disposable period products are very expensive and are not readily available. Through internal monitoring and external data, we know that young women and girls struggle to access products. Without access to suitable menstrual protection, many girls miss, or even drop out of school altogether.

The reusable period pad packs that are donated to beneficiaries in Kenya, come both from our Leeds-based sewing workshops and from two sewing workshops that are headed by experienced seamstresses in Kenya.

Our on the ground teams support in running their own social enterprises that create the period pad packs, and in delivering the education programme to all of the pad beneficiaries.

Freedom4Girls work alongside several Kenya-based organisations, such as Maji Safi Projects and SCORA to provide washable period packs, menstrual cups and menstrual hygiene education to thousands of girls in semi-rural Kenya.

Uganda

Our work in Uganda has focused on a unique education programme that both:

  • Delivers a programme that educates boys and girls simultaneously, therefore facilitating and normalising important conversations between both sexes and their experiences of puberty, with a focus on menstruation;
  • Uses educative play, arts and sports to engage young people, their passions and empowering them in the sessions;
  • Runs a ‘peer mentor’ scheme and school based ‘Freedom4Girls clubs’ to provide youth autonomy, sustainability and legacy of breaking the stigmas on menstruation for future young women.

The Uganda project primarily delivers in rural areas with some work in the country’s capital, Kampala.

The project has been delivering since February 2019 and in this time has supported 500 young women with access to menstrual health products and educated over 800 young women, young men, girls and boys.

COVID-19 UPDATE:

Unsurprisingly, we’ve made the decision to cancel our sewing workshops until further notice. However, if any of our volunteers would like to continue sewing at home, we’ll happily provide fabric, templates etc for you to do so. Please send us a message or drop us an email for more info (info@freedom4girls.co.uk). Our upcoming trips to Kenya and Uganda will almost certainly need to be postponed, so we’re taking this as an opportunity to build up a good supply of period packs for later in the year!

We are also aware that the current levels of panic-buying have left many shelves empty of period products. If you’re in need, please let us know and we will help you. We will be restricting supplies to 1 or 2 packs per person, and if you can normally afford to buy products, we ask that you give us a small donation so that we can replenish our supplies once things calm down a bit. Over the next week we hope to establish pick-up points so that we aren’t inundated with requests, so watch this space!

In these uncertain times we are as determined as ever to ensure that everyone has access to safe period products and will continue to provide those in need throughout the Leeds area to the best of our ability.

Stay strong and safe,

The F4G team x