Project information

Girls Matter Period: Pads and info for girls!

Empowering girls with access to sanitary pads and information about their own bodies improves their confidence and helps them stay in school. Prompting and enabling communities to support their girls during menstruation makes it clear that Girls Matter. Period.

January 2017 - December 2017

Charity information: Irise International

Irise International logo
  • Need


    Ugandan girls often miss school because they don’t have pads and are ashamed and uncomfortable during menstruation. Many don’t understand what is happening when their periods first start and they are often humiliated at school or made to feel dirty by other pupils. This means that girls are disadvantaged at school and poorly equipped to make decisions about their sexual and reproductive health leading to poorer educational and health outcomes, driving gender inequality.


    Irise works with local partners to deliver a long lasting solution for girls. We recruit local entrepreneurs to sell a range of more affordable sanitary products including menstrual cups and a reusable pad we manufacture in Uganda. We train local stakeholders to integrate menstrual health education into their work so that girls understand how to use products comfortably and safely. We deliver behavior change campaigns to mobilize the community to support girls to access what they need.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Access: To set up local access to a range of more affordable sanitary products


    » Manufacturing an affordable reusable sanitary pad
    » Recruiting and training local entrepreneurs (individuals) and access points (organizations) to sell a range of more affordable sanitary products.

    Number of entrepreneurs and access points established.

    Aim 2

    Desire: To deliver education so women and girls know about the products and want to use them.


    » Training local stakeholders to integrate menstrual health education into their work; our cascade training is adapted to the needs of the partner.
    » Developing and distributing educational materials, for example a cartoon about a typical girl learning about menstruation, a teacher's handbook etc.

    Number of partners trained.
    Number of girls reached directly or through partners.
    Girls knowledge before and after training.

    Aim 3

    Demand: To mobilise the wider community to support girls to access the products they need.


    » Delivering awareness raising events, including driving round the area and holding an interactive tent at the local taxi park.
    » Playing radio dramas on the local radio and taking part in talk shows where listeners can phone in with questions.
    » Developing and delivering promotional materials, like posters and flyers for fathers highlighting why they need to support their daughters.

    Number of launch events and radio shows.
    Attitudes of participants before and after their involvement.
    Number of products sold.

  • Impact


    Our project aims to improve girls' confidence, reduce girls school absenteeism and enable them to make better reproductive health choices. These outcomes will be assessed through research studies conducted in collaboration with the University of Sheffield. The results from our recent study with 1,200 girls will be available soon.


    The quality of the training for entrepreneurs and those delivering education must be maintained in order for the project to be a success. Our training assessment and evaluation process includes observing trainees in the field immediately after training and 6-12 months later.
    Menstrual taboos and myths mean that people are suspicious of new products and this can affect uptake. Recruiting entrepreneurs from the community helps make new products more acceptable.


    We send regular updates to our mailing list and via our social media channels.
    All our research reports are made publicly available as are other relevant reports on our work.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £16,600

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      Amount Heading Description
      £5,200 Entrepreneur Training Recruiting and training 10 entrepreneurs/access points
      £2,000 Partner Training Training 3 local partners to integrate menstrual health education into their work
      £2,200 Partner support Ongoing support and assessment of partners
      £2,900 Promotional Materials Developing and delivering a portfolio of materials (inc. graphic design input and printing)
      £2,600 Awareness Raising 2 awareness raising events in the community and promotion on 2 radio stations.
      £1,700 Overheads and Evaluation Contribution to overheads and evaluation

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Donations £1,200 Guaranteed
    Grants £10,200 Guaranteed
  • Background


    This project will enable us to offer our programme in Wakiso District in central Uganda.


    The project will serve rural and peri-rural communities and marginalised women and girls in these communities will be the main beneficiaries.
    Women and girls will benefit directly through accessing sanitary products and information about menstrual and reproductive health.
    Women engaged in producing reusable pads or selling sanitary products as entrepreneurs will benefit from the income generating opportunity.
    The whole community will benefit from removing a barrier to girls' education.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Irise International is committed to developing a replicable and sustainable solution to this issue. We have already conducted research to inform the best approach. This project is piloting a holistic model which other stakeholder and partners will then be able to learn from and replicate more widely.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Sarah Matindi

    Sarah runs our menstrual health education program. She has 10 years experience training in East Africa and was an East Africa Acumen Fellow in 2014.

    Alex Natuhwera

    Ales runs our Enterprise Program. He originally trained as a lawyer & most recently worked as a Project Coordinator for a Skills Development Program

Watch to find out how periods are affecting girls like Mariam


Enables us reach one girl with pads, information and the support she needs to stay in school

“With the dawn of every single period…the lack of sanitary pads, the anxiety and self-consciousness made me feel like I was in prison, a monthly prison”

A young Ugandan woman reflects on her experiences of menstruation as a school girl.