Centenary Bank in partnership with Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) has donated over Five Hundred (500) reusable sanitary pads to girls from vulnerable communities in the Kampala district, as part of the Keep-A-Girl-In-School (KAGIS) initiative launched by URCS in March 2019. The beneficiary schools are St. Ponsiano Primary School and St. Mary’s Primary School – Kibuye. KAGIS is in line with a Menstrual Health Management initiative spearheaded by the Ministry of Education and Sports which highlights the plight of girls missing school because of a lack of sanitary pads to use during their monthly menstruation cycle.
Speaking during the handover event, Robert Kwesiga Secretary General– Uganda Red Cross Society thanked Centenary Bank for supporting a humanitarian cause to Keep more Girls in School through sensitization and provision of pads, and for choosing to partner with Red Cross on this cause. “KAGIS is part of the Uganda Red Cross Society Health and Social Service Agenda under Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Interventions – which plays a crucial role around key issues such as health, education, protection and security of women and adolescent girls, both in emergency and in the development context.”
It is also an act of humanity and so we thank Centenary bank for joining hands with us on this initiative. Kwesiga said.
URCS collaborates with a diversified portfolio of partners including the Government of Uganda, the United Nations, Red Cross National Societies, Civil Society organizations, and private corporate entities among others. Having Centenary Bank join the Keep-A-Girl-In-School initiative further highlights the need for a multi-sectoral approach that not only involves organizations but individuals as well and we can all together make a huge contribution to the wellbeing of vulnerable people in our societies. – Kwesiga added.
Centenary Bank Executive Director Joseph Balikuddembe said, “Centenary Bank is privileged to work with Uganda Red Cross Society to make a difference in the lives of girls from vulnerable communities, which further deepens our prior engagements in the humanitarian space to positively impact lives. When we operate in a healthy society we are sure business will grow and build a better economy.”
From the research conducted by Uganda Red Cross in 2019, Menstruation poses several challenges to adolescent girls and young women, especially school-going ones, and these among others include;
Many girls lack prior knowledge about menstruation and sometimes get scared and worried about who to speak to and this leaves them with a vacuum that brings mental breakdown.
Social norms may lead women and girls to feel that menstruation is dirty, shameful, or unhealthy and this restricts them from school attendance and participation in games.
Without access to good menstrual materials and private toilets or washrooms for changing, girls and women may not want to go far from home. Girls and women may not attend a school or go to the market. As a result of lack of access to hygienic sanitary wear, girls and women have resorted to using inappropriate materials such as rugs torn from their old clothes, papers, pieces of old mattress form, leaves, and in some cases in the rural communities, being housebound to sit over a hole dug in the middle of their mud floors till the menstrual flow ends.
School-going girls who get blood on their clothes are often teased by teachers, boys, or other girls and this has been reported as a significant cause of school dropout for the girl child.
In his conclusive remarks, Kwesiga urged more organizations from the private sector to join the humanitarian cause to make a difference in the lives of more vulnerable people in Uganda.