By Paulyn Ruth Alupo
Universities play an important role as leaders in teaching and learning in education, research and technology. Their other role is in building new cultural values and in training and socializing people of new social era.
In trying to help Uganda Christian University (UCU) play its other role, students of Human Rights, Peace and Humanitarian Intervention (BOHPHI) have taught youth and school children in the University’s suburbs of Bugujju in Mukono Central Division how to make reusable pads.
Among the beneficiaries of these students’ initiative were pupils of Mirember Day and Boarding Primary School whom they met in Bugujju recently.
Two girls stitching reusable pads as they interact. Alupo Paulyn for The Standard.
According to the students, they chose Bugujju for their campaign after learning of the increasing numbers of female school dropouts in the area due to lack of sanitary pads.
A 2014 report by the NGO Dasra titled Spot On! found that nearly 23 million girls world over drop out of school annually due to lack of proper menstrual hygiene management facilities, which include availability of sanitary napkins and logical awareness of menstruation.
In Uganda, according to a recent survey by a non-profit organization Reach a Hand Uganda, 22% of school going girls drop out schools annually due to lack of sanitary towels.
The BOHPHI students named their campaign menstrual health awareness project. To implement it, they first mobilized funds amongst themselves to buy the necessary materials such as clothes.
Ruth Akao, one of the students who participated in the campaign told the Standard Digital that their campaign was intended to give women and school girls skills to make their own reusable pads.
“As a team, we have been able to educate the girls and women not only about making reusable pads but also the dangers of drug abuse, and how to deal with domestic violence in their communities,” said Emmanuel Ondoga a student’s team leader.
“The skills our girls have acquired from the UCU students will help them stay in school and have confidence during their menstrual periods,” said Joseph Kyagulanyi, a math teacher at Mirembe Day and Boarding Primary School.
This was not the first time, BOHPHI students are training communities outside the University on how to make reusable sanitary pads. At the start of 2020, the students took a similar campaign to youth in Bidibidi refugee settlement in Yumbe District, approximately 341.3miles away from UCU.