UK Charity Number: 1155829 Zambian NGO Registration: RINGO 101/0153/14
In 2015 we launched our first Girls Education project in Sinazongwe District, which addressed some of the most urgent financial and health challenges leading to rural girl's dropping out of school. Specifically, the project aims to tackle the issue of girls’ absenteeism from school each month due to their menstrual cycle. UNESCO estimates that 1 in 10 girls in Africa will miss 1 to 4 days off school per month, making this one of the highest contributors to girls dropping out of education all together. During 2015 we developed our 'three tier' approach to tackling these issues which expanded to include a new pilot project in 2016.
1. The Girls Workshops
In April 2015, we delivered our first Girls Education workshops for 128 girls aged between 12 – 18 years old from Kariba South Primary School and Chisyabulungu School. These intensive workshops addressed issues and difficulties girls experience at home and at school, as well as basic female anatomy, puberty and reproductive biology. The Zambian school curriculum only provides the biological information on the femal body but neglects the physiological, financial and social aspects of pubtery and menstruation. 71% of girls at Kariba South and Chisyabulungu felt that they knew little or nothing about the female body before the SCZ workshops in 2015. In February 2017 we expanded these workshops to include 2 additional schools in the Sinazgonwe District.
2. The Re-usable Sanitary Pads
In 2015 we also taught the girls to make their own re-useable sanitary pads, designed by the SCZ team using locally available materials. The girls loved making the pads and agreed they would be able to make more for themselves at home, and that they would tell their friends and family all about them! The pads were a big success, and have been in demand from Kariba South's Tailoring Centre ever since. In 2016 we worked with 5 girls at Kariba South to improve the design of the pads, which will also be made girls at 4 schools during workshops scheduled for April 2017.
3. The Girls Blocks
In May 2015, following the end of the rainy season, construction began on the first of the two girls’ latrine and shower blocks at 2 schools. The blocks are designed to create a safe, clean space for the girls to use during mentrusation. In 2016 we began construction on the same design at our 2 new partner schools - Siansowa Primary School and Siamucaala Community School. The block at Siansowa is in the final stages of completion and our amazing building team are ready to start at Siamucaala as soon as the rains stop pouring!
A huge thanks to the Herrod Foundation for their commitment to the Girls Programme since 2015!
In August 2016 we launched the first Girls Council pilot project in the Sinazongwe District. The 6-month pilot was a huge success - we directly impacted 68 women and girls from 4 schools through the facilitation of 24 workshops, the Councils also went on to impact over 1,000 community members and pupils through their own activities. 98% of the Girls Council members now consider themselves advocates for girls and 95% are actively sharing their learning across their communities and schools. 2 teenage girls have even re-enrolled in school following encouragement from their local Girls Council. While it is clear the pilot project has had an impact during the 6 months, it is also clear there is still progress to be made - 66% of members felt they were more confident speaking out in public for Girls Education, the remaining 34% still lack the confidence needed to be effective advocates. Thanks to the generous support of Baraka Community Partnerships, the Souter Charitable Trust and the Eleanor Rathbone Charitable Trust have been able to continue the project into 2017, and we are working to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Girls Councils at all 4 participating schools. Watch this space for more details!
SCZ's 'Three Tier' Approach to Menstrual Health Management
The Girls Councils