Blog of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

Maka Pads help girls and women in Uganda

November 12th, 2010 by Elizabeth Kissling

The Kasiisi Project Girls Program is now the first producer of locally manufactured sanitary pads in Uganda. Their M.A.K.A. pads (Menstruation Administration Knowledge Affordability) are made of papyrus. A package of ten sells for 650 shillings — one-third of the cost of imported pads. The availability of MakaPads helps women miss work and girls miss school less frequently.

  

4 Responses to “Maka Pads help girls and women in Uganda”

  1. Natalie says:

    I found this video very inspirational. In the United States, I think that we take tampons and pad availability for granted. The message behind the Maka(pads) name is very encouraging, and means so much more than the regular brands I see in stores here. The fact that the company can help girls in schools, as well as working women (at a low cost) is very progressive. Watching the video reminded me of my first period in the 7th grade, and how I missed school the day I started it because of the pain/embarrassment. It makes me feel foolish now to think that I had pads and was ABLE to attend school that day, while so many other people in the world who WANT to attend school/NEED to attend work in order to support themselves and their families no matter what obstacle they are going through, CAN’T because of the lack of sanitary products. I hope that this company will inspire others to help, as well as educate people about this extremely important issue.

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  3. Lydia says:

    I posted this video to my Facebook page and someone left this comment in regards to girls missing school because they don’t have access to affordable menstrual products:

    “Okay, have to say that this is NOT true. Not true at all. It’s a marketing ploy for a company that makes disposable pads. I lived in a village in West Africa for two years. All women there use cloth, simply folded. Never an issue. Now, someone having cramping or not feeling well (or having excess bleeding due to health issues) is another issue, but it’s NOT because they don’t have pads… UGH!”

    This is the first time I’ve ever heard this truth of this issue disputed. The only debate I’ve noticed is how to address the problem, i.e. send disposables, or send cloth pads or support the local production of menstrual products. Could this woman be right? Are we getting this all wrong?

  4. Elizabeth Kissling says:

    Lydia, I think it’s possible for your correspondent’s experience to be true, AND for it to be true that many girls and women in Africa do not have access to affordable menstrual products. Remember, Africa is a large and diverse continent — there are more than 700 languages spoken across 53 nations. When someone says they lived in a village in West Africa for a short time, they don’t necessarily have the knowledge and/or experience to speak for the entire continent.

    This video addresses issues particular to Uganda; research by the Forum of African Women Educationalists (FAWE), a NGO with a branches in several nations, found that lack of pads, along with other factors like the absence of water or separate toilet facilities for girls in many schools, is a significant factor in the drop-out rate for girls. At re:Cycling, we’ve also written about the work of Sustainable Health Enterprises in Rwanda with Rwandan women.

    It’s also true that Proctor & Gamble ran a short-lived cause marketing campaign called “Protecting Futures” that promoted Always brand pads, bathroom construction, and health education for African girls. But as my colleague Chris Bobel noted here, that campaign seems to have completely disappeared after less than a year. Perhaps your correspondent is thinking of this campaign?

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