Uganda, Africa

UGA09 - Girl Child Empowerment : Partnership Reports

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Report Date: June 13, 2021

Report from Touch Africa Now

Project objective: To improve menstrual hygiene among girls and women through a training program on reusable menstrual pads.

Recent Events


changing livesTouch Africa Now works to positively transform and empower communities through education, skills development and economic empowerment, provision of safe and clean water, health promotion, relief support and evangelism programs in Districts of Kampala, Kiryandongo, Arua, Kaabong, Kaberamaido, Kyegegwa and Yumbe.

Reusable menstrual pads /napkins is one of the projects TAN has been implementing to improve menstrual hygiene practices for women and girls of Nyakagando. This has been achieved through trainings and sensitizations of TOTs (Training of Trainers), i.e. women and girls, local leaders and teachers on why and how to make reusable menstrual pads. This project ran for three years (2018 to 2020) assisted by Bright Hope World. 


Mobilization of participants
About 150 community members were mobilized and sensitized on the advantages of reusable pads and participated in the trainings. These community members consisted of local leaders, community development workers, parents, school girls and boys. The community leaders participated in identifying and mobilization of participants.

The mobilization channels used included radio announcements, posters and telephone. 

different optionsProcurement of training materials 
TAN procured materials for training and demonstration, these materials included;
- Demonstration materials (tampons, sanitary pads, cotton wool, toilet paper, cloth, gauze, reusable menstrual pads, menstrual cup)
- Training materials (cotton cloth, fleece, baby cloth, mackintosh, scissors, tape measure, ruler, tailor pins)

These materials were used by the facilitators to train, demonstrate with and guide the participants. Participants were able to master hands-on skills and this approach has helped them to make more reusable pads without supervision.

Hiring training instructors
teaching new skillsTraining instructors were hired from institutions that make reusable menstrual pads to train TOTs and they have been working jointly with volunteers in delivering the training services.

Sensitizations on menstrual pads and hygiene
Sensitizations were carried out to raise awareness on menstrual hygiene and how this can be achieved by use of reusable pads and the associated advantages to the Nyakagando community women and girls of reproductive age. During the awareness sessions, the approach was participatory in which ideas and experience on different menstrual pads were shared by women and girls.

Women and girls shared their experience on the different menstrual pads they had used before and these included; cotton cloth, store bought sanitary pads, toilet paper, old rags, leaves, banana fibers and newspapers. Experience was shared in terms of comfort ability, flow absorption and leakage, risk of infections, poverty reduction, effects on environment and health.

new skillTraining on how to sew reusable menstrual pads 
In July 2018 a hands-on practical training was held in the same community to equip women and girls with the skills and requirements for making reusable menstrual pads. 70 participants (63 women and 7 men) from Nyakagando and the neighbouring communities turned up for the training.  

Another hands-on practical training was conducted in November 2018. This was mainly targeted at teenage girls (both in and out of school). 60 teenagers, 15 mothers (teachers inclusive) and 3 local leaders attended this training.

Follow-ups and visitations 
In August 2020 TAN field instructors followed up on the women/girls that had been trained on how to make reusable menstrual pads to provide technical support and guidance.

very gratefulDelivering sewing machines 
Two tailoring machines were handed over to the women, one in 2019 and the other one in 2020, to assist with the sewing of menstrual pads.

Graduating trainers of trainees
On 21 August 2020 a graduation ceremony was held in Nyakagando - Kiryandongo for women that had thoroughly practiced the skills of making reusable menstrual pads. 12 women were graduated and awarded certificates of completion of training.


Personal Stories

generating incomeKatusiime Violet

“Before we were trained to make reusable menstrual pads, we used to fold so many papers, leaves or rags to avoid menstrual leakage. This was accompanied with so many diseases and discomfort. With these pads, now we are smart, clean and no longer hide away from people. I have made so many reusable menstrual pads and have put some in my sister’s clinic who is in a neighbouring district for sale such that I can earn some income for more material to train others. I thank our trainers for equipping us with such innovative skills.” 


teaching othersBakole Fredah 

“These pads make one feel comfortable. Once you have made some, you never need to be worried about menstruation periods since they can be used over and over. You only maintain a good habit of washing them so well with clean water and soap and then keep them for the next period. Many women and girls come to me to learn these amazing skills and I call upon more to come." 


Key Achievements

special day1) Women that have acquired skills of making reusable menstrual pads have started training other women and girls within neighbouring communities.
2) Women using reusable menstrual pads have reported improved menstrual hygiene and hence appreciation for skills acquired.
3) We have graduated 12 women that have thoroughly practiced the skills of managing menstruations, i.e. making reusable menstrual pads, menstrual cycle and hygiene practices, with a certificate and hence qualified them to go train women and girls in other communities.
4) Some women have started selling the pads made to generate income.
5) Five small groups of women have been started and are under training in making re-usable pads within Nyakagando.


Current Issues and Challenges

new skill1) Some materials used like mackintosh and fleece cloth are not commonly available in the rural community; one has to travel to the city, Kampala, to acquire them at a higher cost.
2) The two tailoring machines provided are not enough for all the women trained in making menstrual pads.
3) The tailoring machines provided do not do the overlock finishing needed for the pads. Women join the cloth materials with a machine and then do the overlock by hand hence spending a lot of time and energy on producing a single menstrual pad which does not look smart for commercial purposes.
4) The COVID-19 lockdown stopped all our activities in this area as the people feared meeting with each other. We have realized that one year is enough for these trainees to master making a high quality reusable pad.
5) We had limited finances and therefore visited this group when we had other project work that provided us with finances for accommodation and transportation.



making a differenceReusable menstrual pad making has improved menstrual hygiene practices of women/girls of Nyakagando community. The TOTs are now capable of training others.

However this training was conducted in only Nyakagando village and the participants have always just come from this village and its neighbourhood. Nyakagando is one of the villages in Kiryandongo District, Uganda. TOTs need to be strengthened to move and train other women and girls in other villages, or districts who are still facing challenges in menstruation management.


Ideas for the Future

need more machines1) Support TOTs with training materials and more sewing machines such that they can move to other villages and the neighbouring districts to train other women and girls. 

2) Purchase for a surger machine (overlock sewing machine) to do the overlock finishing on the menstrual pads. Menstrual pads with finishing done by an overlock sewing machine are long lasting, done in a very short time and look smarter than those whose overlock is done by hand.

3) Train other TOTs in other districts, i.e. starting with Kampala and Wakiso.  


making a differenceAppreciation

The women appreciated the training they had received in making these reusable pads. We join them in thanking Bright Hope World for the provision of the money that made it possible for Touch Africa Now to teach these ladies how to make these pads themselves, become clean and where possible aim at making them for profit. Thank you so much.