Girls in Control - Tanzania
Girls in Control in Tanzania is one of five countries where SNV is piloting an approach to solve the problem of menstrual hygiene management (MHM) amongst schoolgirls in rural and peri-urban areas.
Girls in Control (GiC) is a mutli-country project that aims to increase school attendance for adolescent school girls, through improved menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in schools and facilitating access to safe, affordable and sustainable sanitary materials through a value chain business model.
In Tanzania most girls in rural primary schools who have reached puberty do not use appropriate sanitary wear during their monthly menstrual. They use local pads, i.e. rags, raw cotton and maize cobs. Due to lack of lack of water in most rural schools, washing of re-usable pads poses a serious challenge. Disposable pads are ready made commercial products. Quality assurance and certification for sanitation, hygiene and health safety of imported pads is provided by the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS).
The main consumers of these sanitary pads are urban based women; only 2% of school girls across Tanzania (mostly urban based) use the disposable pads. There are rural school girls who have not even seen a sanitary pad. Girl pupils either use inappropriate materials to manage menstrual flow or/and opt to stay at home and not attend school during the 3-4 days of their menses. If they attend school without proper sanitary wear, many girls soil their uniforms and may suffer psychologically due to shame and embarrassment. Poor Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) can contribute to poor performance and completion rates among girl pupils and exposes them to health risks.
SNV's Girls in Control approach builds awareness of menstrual hygiene issues amongst school girls. The main project activities in Tanzania include:
Engagement of disposable sanitary pads entrepreneurs;
Re-design process for product and packaging of sanitary pads;
Conducting a customer survey, using BoP principles;
Enhancing knowledge on MHM within LGAs;
Enhancing knowledge on sanitary options among teachers and target group;
Filming and documentary and Monitoring and Evaluation.