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Does Menstruation Limit Education?

The time has come to make educating young women globally a priority.

Access to education is hardly guaranteed in many areas of Africa, and for young women especially, menstruation is proving a formidable boundary.

  • Afripads reports on Uganda: “menstruation contributes to absences of up to 4-5 school days each month, equating to as much as 20% of the academic year intentionally skipped”
  • Unicef describes high female dropout rates in Africa due in part to a lack of “separate toilets… a problem which becomes particularly pertinent once girls reach puberty”

Founded in 2010, Afripads is bringing free and reduced price sanitary supplies to African girls and women. Cofounders Sophia Grinvalds (who also serves as director) and Paul Grinvalds saw the need for Afripads while living in a rural Ugandan village where women struggled to take care of their basic physical needs.

They partnered with the eco-conscious (for profit) company, Lunapads. Afripads produces its products locally in Uganda based on the designs of Lunapads and then sells them to locals and distributes them to NGOs at 1/5 of market price. These affordable, sustainable, and locally manufactured pads allow African women more freedom and the ability to reap years of additional education. By employing Ugandans and striking a balance between selling their products and donating, Afripads attempts to avoid the ills that can come from typical donations or 1:1 models, which you can read about here.

Afripads is empowering women to become educated contributors to their country’s economy. As opportunities for women grow, economies can harness the untapped potential of millions of minds and make strides forward.