In addition to having to live with the damaging taboo that surrounds menstruation in Cameroon, many girls and women there struggle every month just to manage their periods hygienically, something that many of us take for granted. Lacking access to basic sanitary and hygiene products or facilities, women are forced to use unhygienic cloth and girls often skip school out of shame and fear of bullying. Lack of basic products or knowledge about how to manage menstruation can lead to both physical and psychological harm and results in girls missing out on crucial education. UNESCO estimates that 1 in 10 African girls skip school during their period, eventually leading to a higher school drop out rate.
Conflict or disaster situations make this challenge more severe; girls and women are even more vulnerable to developing health problems because they lack access to basic hygiene supplies and facilities. Yet humanitarian organizations rarely provide for this basic need.
The SOLUTIONS WE'RE PROPOSING
W4’s field project, Girls Excel, produces and distributes washable, reusable sanitary pads as part of a sustainable response to the challenges faced by girls in both rural communities and refugee camps in Cameroon. The sanitary pads are eco-friendly, cost-effective and can be re-used for a year.
Young women from rural communities are trained in the creation of these pads. This not only improves the quality of girls’ and women’s lives, but also helps create sustainable livelihoods for these women, giving them economic independence, increasing household incomes, and boosting the entire community’s economy and well-being.
Above all, the project encourages debate over the current taboo surrounding menstruation and sexual health in Cameroon, a problem that has a far-reaching impact on the broader health and cultural challenges facing vulnerable communities.
THE IMPACT OF GIVING
Your donation supports the production and distribution of these sanitary pads and changes the lives of vulnerable girls and women in Cameroon. You will be helping these women to live healthier, happier lives under some of the most challenging human circumstances and ensuring that young women do not miss out on schooling. Moreover, by supporting sustainable livelihoods for rural women who manufacture the sanitary pads, your contribution will also improve the futures of these women’s families and their entire community.