Carol Tembo , Its a Girl club – Its a Girl

Date grant awarded: June 20, 2018

Its a Girl project, is an initiative that encourages girls’ education by removing the burden that girls face, especially during menstruation. The project was launched at Kochilira Primary School in Mchinji, Malawi, but is aimed to spread countrywide. The project distributes reusable sanitary pads and trains community women and girls in “Its a Girl” club on making these pads and how best they can be used and kept clean for ones comfort during menstruation. People in rural Malawi find the plastic sanitary pads really expensive as their cost almost equals the whole family’s daily expenditure. Because of this, girls are forced to use rags when menstruating, which is hard to use because they need changing every now and then. For school-going teens, this is really bothersome and it increases absenteeism and school dropouts.

The project, therefore, is needed because it provides reusable sanitary pads, which are a much better than the rags. These pads are easy to make and can be used for approximately one year. One can easily fold these pads after use for cleaning after school unlike the rags. This work is important because it keeps girls in school who would have dropped out and girls no longer miss school during menstruation. The project has also brought out a lot of confidence in the girls as they feel comfortable when menstruating without worrying of leakages during class hours.

As a girl who grew up in the rural area, Carol has seen how some women who she went to school with are suffering from poverty. Most of these women dropped out in their senior primary school classes soon after they started menstruating. The only option they had after dropping out was to get married. Seeing these women really breaks Carol’s heart because she knows that if they had not dropped out of school, the story would be different now and they would not suffer the way they are suffering now.

They would have grown into independent women with so much to offer to their communities and the country as a whole. The other thing that inspired Carol to create this project was seeing how hard these plastic pads are to dispose. Girls and women who use these plastic pads find it hard to dispose them, especially those from urban areas where there are no pit latrines. Such women either burn the pads or put them into a plastic wrapper and throw them in moving streams/rivers. These plastic pads are polluting our surroundings, which is why she thought of the reusable sanitary pads as an alternative that helps girls and keeps their surroundings unpolluted at the same time.

The TPP grant will support the work as it will be used to buy materials for making the reusable pads and it will also be used to train some community women in how these pads are made so that these women can keep on sharing the knowledge to the girls through “Its a Girl” club, which is a pillar to the promotion of the girls education.