Project information

GATEWAY: giving girls access to education

In Malawi, many girls and women are confined to their homes during their periods preventing them from reaching their full potential. GATEWAY aims to empower girls from disadvantaged communities by working with local women to provide them with reusable sanitary hygiene kits to use at school.

April 2017 - April 2018

Charity information

Starfish Malawi

Starfish Malawi logo
  • Need


    Without sanitary protection the vast majority of girls and women in Malawi are confined to their homes during menstruation and unable to participate in everyday activities. Poor menstrual hygiene management in schools has been shown to cause adolescent girls worry and humiliation, contribute to absenteeism and lead to poor performance in schools (UNICEF, 2010; WaterAid, 2009). This leaves girls at a huge disadvantage in their studies compared to their male peers.


    GATEWAY provides resources and training for local women in Malawian communities to make reusable pads for their girls. The kits last for at least 3 years and provide enough security for girls to attend school during their periods. Over the last two years the programme has been very successful; one of the girls recently told Starfish that the kit had "given her freedom". Starfish Malawi is looking to expand the project further to impact the lives of even more girls and women in Malawi.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To provide 2000 reusable sanitary hygiene kits for vulnerable girls in Malawi.


    » To provide new and existing Gateway groups with enough materials and sewing machines to produce a total of 2000 packs.
    » To set up at least 2 new Gateway community groups to reach even more girls.
    » To provide training in tailoring for women from each community group to assist them in making the packs.
    » To oversee distribution and provide a small income for the local women who produce the packs.

    Success will be demonstrated by distributing the target of 2000 packs to girls in at least 6 different schools in Malawi.

  • Impact


    The Gateway project will enable girls to attend school during their periods and ultimately encourage them to continue with their education. We will demonstrate this by monitoring school attendance records and producing questionnaires for girls receiving packs to complete. Success would be an increase in attendance of girls in school and an increase in confidence, well being and hygiene for girls during menstruation. We will be working closely with all the schools involved to monitor progress.


    Risks to the project would be the participation and commitment of the community group making the packs. These risks have been managed by carefully choosing community groups who have demonstrated their ability through involvement with previous projects with Starfish or another organisation. Each group are also required to sign a responsibility agreement outlining community support and commitment to the project.


    Through bi-monthly reports (July & January) and regular updates on Facebook and our website (

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £5,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £734 Knickers Purchasing 2 pairs of knickers for each pack.
      £2,792 Materials Other materials to make packs: waterproof material, microfibre toweling, cotton & press studs
      £500 Training Cost of training in tailoring & transport for trainers.
      £974 Admin Payment for packs produced at £0.40 per pack & Starfish costs to oversee project.
  • Background


    The project will be located in the Salima and Kasungu districts of Malawi. As a charity, we already work with 45 schools across both districts. We will be targeting rural communities of a low socio-economic background located within the catchment zones of these schools. With severe flooding in 2015 and ongoing drought this year crippling agriculture, many areas in both Salima and Kasungu are sliding even further into poverty with over 40% living below the poverty line.


    The project will benefit vulnerable and disadvantaged girls from the rural communities surrounding schools that we work with in Salima and Kasungu, many of whom are living in poverty.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have been working with schools in Malawi for 10 years and have a track record of successfully delivering a number of school as well as community based projects in that time (see website for more details at The first phase of the Gateway project was launched last year and has seen the successful production of 1,500 packs so far with 6 community groups involved. We have a long standing working relationship with many communities in Malawi and are well respected.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Chimwemwe Dzindiwo

    Gateway project manager on the ground. Chimwemwe is responsible for managing and organising the project on the ground in Malawi.

    Maryanne Euwaezuoke

    Country Co-director of Starfish Malawi. Maryanne will be working alongside Chimwemwe to support and oversee the project.

    Holly Nicholls

    Gateway project coordinator in the UK. Responsible for funding, reporting and supply of resources for the project from the UK.


will give a girl freedom during her period for 3 years.

"Being in a gender mixed school, the kits provide much comfort and security in class as well as during study time, and I can fully concentrate. So there is no need to miss classes due to menstruation!”

Princess Chirwa