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Aliguma Foundation Intensifies Hygiene, Menstruation Stigma Fight Through Sports

Starting a project in a Third World Country like Uganda is never easy. But many charity organisations have embarked on projects with immediate success. The real challenge has always been in standing the test of time and consistency to stay true to the organisation’s virtues, values and vision.

Empowering Them Early: Malcom Junior School pupils and teachers were among those that received sanitary pads, soccer balls and other goodies on the Foundation's Tour of Mukono.

And that is where Aliguma Foundation, founded in 2007, have scored highly with enriching programmes and projects that have helped alleviate poverty, educate young ones, empower the girl-child, develop sporting talents, create jobs for the youth and elderly through their project works, alleviate poverty amongst the slum dwellers homesteads and forthwith improve the livelihoods of many disadvantaged ones in the process.

To achieve as much in just five years of establishment is no mean feat but for Aliguma Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ritah Aliguma it is still early days to celebrate anything as the journey has only just started.

Aliguma’s words are further justified by the Foudation’s drive to tie down partnerships with global bodies like the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), United Nations High Commission For Refugees (UNHCR), Standard Chartered Bank and Italian Embassy in Uganda among others.

Ambassadors Of Hope: Members of Genesis Football Academy and The Aliguma Foundation in a group photo with sanitary pads and assorted sports equipment from UEFA.

Latest partnership

Geared towards ending the struggle low-income women and girls face while trying to afford menstrual products, the Aliguma Foundation and Genesis Football Academy have executed outreach in Mukono District targeting school-going girls.

Held at selected schools in Mukono Municipality and Nama Sub-county, the girl students were enlightened on their bodies, how to break the silence while emphasising the role of participating in sport for healthier lifestyles.

WASH United, an international NGO that focuses on menstrual hygiene and human rights, estimates that more than 500 million women and girls worldwide don’t have the things they need to manage periods safely, hygienically and free from embarrassment.

The Aliguma Foundation in conjunction with Genesis Football, an academy based in Mukono are involved in grass-root initiatives aimed at challenging stigma, gender inequality and period poverty through sports.

Hygiene A Must: CEO Rita Aliguma (C) gives out sanitary pads to children of Nabbaale Primary School. The emphasis of menstrual hygiene was emphasised in every way possible.

Genesis trains children to be proactive as part of their football curriculum and the girls, who are part of the team, are a treasured asset to spreading the gospel of empowerment.

Aliguma’s big role

The Aliguma Foundation Director, Ritah Aliguma, took part in a menstrual hygiene campaign with the football academy visiting schools creating awareness and distributing sanitary pads to children at Nabbaale Primary School, a government-aided school, Malcolm Junior School and St Edward Primary School.

The boys at the schools received footballs and small-sided goals, from Ritah Aliguma courtesy of UEFA Foundation for Children as an enticement to get involved in sport. The academy, too, received an assortment of football equipment.

Genesis Football Academy coach Flavia Nalwanga said this was an opportunity to highlight the challenges regarding periods and to raise the alarm on the need for a broader conversation of menstrual hygiene among young girls.

“Having a period is a challenge to many girls because they cannot afford it. With a donation of sanitary pads, the girls can understand how to manage the periods safely,” Nalwanga said.

She was highlighting what experts call period poverty where girls and women lack access to period products, access to safe spaces and persons to confide in.

No Discriminations: The Foundation's CEO Ritah Aliguma hands over a ball to a pupil.

Confidence booster

Victor Mwebe, a teacher at Nabbaale PS was happy with the donation saying they face bigger challenges with girls when they get periods.

“One of the issues is that girls miss school when they are in their periods to avoid being humiliated by boys. Losing class time affects their learning and confidence,” Mwebe, an executive committee member of Genesis, said.

Aliguma stressed that through sports girls can be taught to speak up and when it comes to ending stigma, young girls need the right information and tools.

“Getting a period marks the beginning of womanhood. It helps cleanse the body while it exposes a girl to challenges such as pregnancy and other related risks. You don't need to fear when you get periods. It is normal,” Aliguma explained.

Vote Of Thanks: Genesis coach Flavia Nalwanga (L) talks to the team from The Aliguma Foundation after the foundation donated sports equipment to the academy in Mukono.

This is the second year that the Aliguma Foundation has been part of the campaign with the first year targeting only Nabbaale Primary School.


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