M’lembe – Tailoring Projects

The Tailoring Project was birthed from a request by participants of the 2 VSLA in Ndiba Village as a way to:-
1. Offer the women a chance to learn a skill.
2. Improve their livelihoods from an extra income.
3. Produce products that can meet the greatest health needs of rural women and girls. The Re-usable Sanitary pads.

THE KASAALE M’LEMBE PAD PROJECT:

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The Kasaale – M’lembe Pad project has involved setting up a micro-enterprise initiative for a women’s group in Ndiba community in the production and sale of sanitary towels to their immediate communities and surroundings villages. The goal of the project is to make available sanitary towels at low-cost prices to school-aged girls and women in the area. Right now, young girls and women cannot afford imported sanitary towels and stay at home during their menstrual cycle for a period of one to two weeks. This project will enable girls to remain in school and women to continue working in their homes and farms during this period.

The Product:
The design and production of these sanitary towels utilizes available low-cost raw materials which encourage Self-sufficiency in these communities and leads to a self-sustaining project. The sanitary towels uses a combination of design patterns adopted to suit the needs of the targeted girls and women. This includes the colours as well.

The towels use 100% cotton flannel and a nylon Protective casing which has a lifecycle of two years. These cloth menstrual pads require hand washing in salty cold water or with soap where available. These Kasaale – M’lembe Pads are less likely to cause rashes, contract Dermatitis, remove the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, and help women that are afflicted with certain types of Vaginitis. Women with sensitive skins and allergies will find the cloth pads more comfortable against their skins.

Existing Challenges:
Most girls in Uganda do not attend school during their menstrual cycle because of the high cost of purchasing sanitary towels and the fear of (accidental leaks). The current practice is to use old rag cloths which cause leakages and present a high risk of infection. Due to possibility of leakages, the girls remain at home missing up to 1-1½ weeks every month of the year. This results in the girls falling behind in school work and ultimately dropping out of school. By dropping out of school, the girls are unable to complete their education and break the poverty cycle in their lives. Unlike the Always initiative which only donates sanitary pads to these poor areas; this Kasaale – M’lembe project aims to create a degree of financial self-sufficiency and provide a long-term viable alternative to their current practice.

Goals:
Empowering mothers and young girls:
This project is to generate additional sources of income that can result in financial independence for the participating women from their husbands. Running a business builds confidence by enabling the women to take control and ownership of their lives. The women would become role models for their daughters and young girls in these communities.

Stimulate a micro-economy:
The project helps stimulate a micro- economy in the communities through the sale of cloth sanitary towels (Kasaale – M’lembe Pads) thus generating income. These Kasaale – M’lembe Pads are targeting rural savings groups formed by NEW Foundation, rural health programs for female health and family planning.

Encourage education:
A project as simple as the production of cloth sanitary towels is a critical stepping stone that will allow these school girls complete their education. According to UNICEF statistics, (one in ten) school aged African girls drop out of school at puberty or during their menstrual cycles due to the high cost of purchasing sanitary towels. As a result, use of these Kasaale – M’lembe Pads will assist the girls in staying in school and completing their education thereby transforming the girls and effecting a change in their communities.

Encourage healthy lifestyles and behaviors:
According to the Center for Adolescence, 13% of girl students in Africa become pregnant at the age of 14. This high level of pregnancy during puberty has been attributed to the lack of education on how the female reproductive system works including their menstrual cycle. Young girls often become pregnant and leave school. This Kasaale – M’lembe Pad project is to complement other Government initiatives to teach rural young girls and women about female health through educational workshops in their local schools and communities.

Seeds ngo again raised the funds to Construct the tailoring center, hire a trainer to coach the women and late a business development trainer to train them in basic business management skills.

It has been surely a dream come true.

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