Girl Empowerment Project (GEP)
In 2019, a seed of change, Canada supported IYAU to implement a project titled “Girl Empowerment Project” in Serere District in Uganda” a six month project which was implemented in Kadungulu Sub County in Serere district from May 2019 to October 2019. The goal of the project was to empower girls to overcome menstrual frustration with the primary purpose of improving access to basic education for the girl child through supporting the enrollment, retention and completion rates as well as empowering them overcome menstrual frustrations for girls at school and those missing out of schools in Serere district.
Through the project;
- A total of 4,500 in-school girls were trained on how to make their own reusable pads, menstruation through home reusable materials and feminine hygiene and yoga as a non-medical remedy to overcoming menstrual cramps. These 4,500 girls played a vital role in the training of their peers within school and their communities
- 2,400 boys and 4,500 girls were trained on MHM (puberty, feminine hygiene and on reproductive health) in 8 primary to empower them with the knowledge to support other pupils. The trained pupils passed on the information to other pupils through health parades at the school
- 4,500 in- school girls from twelve primary schools were trained on how to make hand stitching reusable sanitary napkins/towels. A total of 375 girls per school were trained and empowered to train others. This has led to a shift in the girl child dropout rates more so in relation to menstrual related cases as the rates reduced compared to prior the project. This was attributed to the fact that many girls were now able to make their own sanitary napkins and the project empowered them to attend school even during menstruation. Regular class attendance has risen from 70 percent to 92 percent.
- 3 community sensitization forums on the subject of nonattendance of school by girls were carried out in the parishes of Iruko, Kadungulu, and Kagwara. This was conducted to educate the community on current government education policies and to improve their understanding of the issues surrounding girls who lack basic education.
- 12 Parent Teacher Associations and School Management Committees meetings in twelve primary schools were organised on how to identify the families whose girls miss school which enabled the committees to identify and profile 100 families/households whose girls were missing school. These committees were empowered to perform their functions effectively and efficiently through routine monitoring and support to the children to attend and stay in schools which has enabled these profiled households to send the girl child to school.
The project was able to;
- Improve academic performance and results of rural school girls
- Improve understanding and knowledge amongst girls on reproductive health, puberty, feminine hygiene and menstruation
- Increase parental and community involvement in girl child education and feminine reproductive issues
- Increase the number of girls attending school regularly
- Enhance School Management structures in effectively handling issues of girl child education