African Human Resources Initiative Strategies (AHRIS).

AHRIS is a non profit making organization that is working towards the social economic development of women and young girls in the settlement specifically Kiryandongo refugees camp. The organization will provide an accessible, appropriate and affordable way for women to manage their menstruation with dignity. The product will be introduced to communities in the settlement coupled with menstrual health education in aims to break the culture of speaking about this natural process. Addressing the mental toll of menstrual mismanagement is equally as important as the practicality of the physical product hence the two dimensional approach of this venture.

At this stage of the project , we would like to support women by funding sanitary pads (in addition to the soap, leather and paper recycling they are currently doing) also packaging, labeling and marketing the ready made products, this would ensure a strong start for the business and would enable the sustainable development of this venture. The sanitary pads project will improve health status of women in the settlement by supporting the creation of a social business for producing and selling reusable sanitary pads using locally available materials from local industries. Menstruation is a normal, natural process that occurs in all healthy young girls and adult women who haven’t reached menopause. A girl begins to menstruate normally between 8-12 years.  In the life time of a woman, she has to manage 3000 days of menstruation. Lack of adequate sanitation facilities prevents women from performing office and domestics duties effectively, there is an evidence that women’s performance increases once hygien and water sanitation facilities become available. Young women need to change their sanitary napkins 3 to 4 times daily during the first 3 days of menstruation .majority of the women in the settlement uses rags usually torn from old T-shirts, leaves, mud , animal skins, toilet papers , bark cloth instead of sanitary napkins. Rags are washed and reused many times. There is no private place to change and clean the rags and often on safe water to wash them properly. A culture of shame and embarrassement  forces them to seek for well hidden places even in their homes to dry the rags. These places are often damps, dark and unhealthy, this practice is responsible for a significant proportion of illness and infection in the settlement associated with female reproductive health . Rags that are unclean causes urinary and vaginal infection. Very often serious infections are left untreated. This is common incident in most camps specifically Kiryandongo refugees settlement and the host community.

Menstrual and Hygien  Management (MHM) remains a big challenge in the life of young girls and women alike in the settlement. In Kiryandongo refugees’ settlement just like any other camp in Uganda, menstruation is a very private matter that is rarely talked about in public. The muteness about the issue of menstruation coupled with the disadvantaged socio-economic position of women in Uganda in general perpetuates further inaccessibility to the much needed sanitary pads.

The advent of commercial sanitary towels has not generally saved the situation in the settlement. Considering that the associated price of the towel is not affordable to most women in the camp, AHRIS has surveyed and found that the price of a pack of sanitary towels for different companies varies in different   retail and wholesale enterprises in the settlement and the most of the costs are more than 1: ooUSD, which is above the daily income of many refugees specially women in the settlement. Therefore become difficult for an individual (normal refugee) to appropriate for sanitary pad over other needs considered to be more essential.

Realizing that the problems of MHM are countering the effort of government and other NGOs to promote universal   women effectiveness, a group of women who are undergoing leather work, soap making, body cream and lotion training by AHRIS proposed to interven by initiating a reusable sanitary pad project. The proposed project will increase availability of sanitary towels for women in the settlement. The provision of sanitary towels to women in the settlement will enhance women’s performance in different activities in their daily life, thus having a long term impact on an individual woman and her community in general.

The proposed project seeks to address the perpetual challenge of menstrual health and hygien management through the making and distribution of reusable sanitary pads to underprivileged women in the settlement. AHRIS in collaboration with UNHCR will professionally train and employ the vocational women in the making of such pads. Phase 1 of the project projected over one year with the estimated cost of 15,473USD. The project will consider women community leaders as organized outlets for distribution of the sanitary towels to women.  The total number of women to benefit from the proposed project is 50 or more over the projected year. The program will be concentrated in Kiryandongo refugee settlement and later to be extended to some the camps within the country and it is proposed that some interested group of women will be trained to make sanitary pads as business for sustainability of the program after donor funding. The proposed budget will be used to purchase materials, pay for staffs and distribution expenses. Virtual sales will be promoted through lobbing and the AHRIS website for individuals to pay for a reusable sanitary pad kit and proceeds will be then used for increased production and distribution.