Since the ‘Ndi Mwana – The Cry Of A Girl-Child’ campaign started on May 29, 2021, it has turned out to be the most sought-after project by Aliguma Foundation (AF)’s partners and sponsors because of the immediate impact it has had on the slummy areas and villages it has traversed in Uganda.
Basic Need: The pupils of Kinuuma show their delight after receiving a pack of pads apiece.
When the campaign got underway, it was in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic first wave with so many families pulverized by the global enemy. Aliguma Foundation didn’t just preach sanitary pads back then, as they also provided Mama Kits to cater for the basic needs of the households with Acholi Quarters in Kireka-Banda B Zone being the first beneficiaries.
No weaker sex
And with the Ugandan economy fully opening up, especially the education sector, the availability of sanitary pads to these school-going girls has played a pivotal role in convincing them to return to school without the fear of being looked at as the vulnerable ones and weaker sex.
“Providing a girl with underwear and sanitary pads may increase her chances of staying in school by 30%,” noted AF Chief Executive Officer Ritah Aliguma as she lauded the mainstay partners of the campaign thus far; United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) whilst also making a plea to other partners to come on board and give the girl-child a chance to life.
Sharing The Little: CEO Aliguma Foundation Ritah Aliguma (R) hands over to the head girl.
“You start to see a real difference in rates of school attendance for boys and girls as they move from Primary School to Secondary School. Rates for girls can be 8 to 10 per cent lower than boys. There are a lot of reasons for this. If there is a need for help in the home, for example, often a girl may be held back."
Aliguma adds; “Now, if a girl doesn’t have access to sanitary pads or a safe and clean place at school to change them, that becomes another reason for keeping her at home. She starts missing a few days every month, she falls behind, and she may eventually drop out. In fact, some case studies in Uganda found out that if you provide a girl with underwear and sanitary pads, her chances of staying in school are 30 to 50 per cent higher.”
To-date, the Aliguma Foundation has made the mileage count by impacting on several villages across the country including Kinuuma (Biganda Parish in Masindi District – 200km from Kampala), Naguru, Kasokokoso, Kiganda, Nakawa, Kisenyi, Soroti, Mukono and Bussi Island with the elders receiving pads from AF and distributing them to over 200,000 girls, young mothers and women.
Pads For All: A section of the pupils and staff of Kinuuma Primary School after getting pads.
Women are without doubt the leaders of tomorrow and mothers of many generations to come the world over and keeping girls in school cannot be overstated as it is also equally important to health and development.
“When girls stay in school, they are less likely to get HIV-AIDS infections, wages go up, teenage pregnancy rates go down, and the children they have at the right time are certainly healthier. You educate a girl and you change the world,” added CEO Ritah Aliguma.
Call of support
At AF, we are forever grateful to those that have partnered us for the ‘Ndi Mwana – The Cry Of A Girl Child’ campaign. But we will not stop to BEG for more support as regards sanitary pads, underwear (knickers), balls and finances to keep the campaign afloat.
A pack of pads costs between UGX2,500-3,500 (less than a dollar) in Uganda and our target is to reach at-least TWO MILLION girls by the end of 2022. We have so far reached out to only 400,500 girls hence our plea for more. We also kindly ask for volunteers to join our campaign and help teach girls and women how to make reusable sanitary pads.
Let's Play: AF CEO Aliguma (L) preaches that the girl-child will only be able to mix, mingle and play the beautiful game of soccer freely if they're healthy and their hygiene is top notch.
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Star Cause: Uganda's 800m world champion Nakaayi has lent her voice to the campaign.
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