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Project information

Transforming menstrual taboos in Uganda.

Menstrual taboos stop girls realising their full potential. We will enable community champions in Uganda to develop & deliver behaviour change interventions designed to transform social norms & enable the community to support girls, helping create a world where no one is held back by their period.

12 months

Charity information: Irise International

Irise International logo
  • Need


    The menstrual taboo means that menstruation is shrouded in secrecy and girls are unable to talk about their needs. This means that community is unaware of the indignity they suffer each month and unable to provide more support. In addition, many of the social norms associated with menstruation make girls feel dirty, undermine their confidence and promote the idea that menarche means that a girl is ready to marry and have children- creating a cycle of disempowerment.


    This project will utilise a tried & tested behaviour change approach that puts the community at the heart of transforming negative social norms. We will enable community champions to develop & deliver a behaviour change intervention that addresses a key barrier to change within their community. Irise’s mobile resource centre will support champions, offering training & supplying entrepreneurs to sell affordable pads, teaching about menstrual health, radio skits etc.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To understand social norms and community readiness to change


    » Identify and engage community champions and influencers
    » Workshops and participatory research with the community to understand social norms and readiness to change

    What success will look like

    A report on social norms and community readiness to change will guide the rest of the project.

    Aim 2

    To develop and deliver a behaviour change intervention


    » Workshops with community champions to design intervention
    » Supported delivery of intervention

    What success will look like

    Document behaviour change intervention through photos and videos.

    Aim 3

    To provide the community with the training and resources they need to support girls


    » Regular visits from Irise mobile resource centre, providing menstrual health training and supplying entrepreneurs with affordable pads.

    What success will look like

    Track uptake of teacher and entrepreneur training and use of other resources in the area.

  • Impact


    Participatory research at the beginning and end of the project will track changes in attitudes and behaviours. More positive attitudes to menstruation within the community will boost girls confidence and enable them to participate in school instead of feeling pressured to marry and have children just because they have started their periods. More positive attitudes will lead to more supportive behaviours, ensuring girls have access to the pads and info they need to have a happy period!


    The project depends on community engagement and if the community chose not to engage it will be difficult to implement. We have dealt with this by working in an area where we already have good relationships with local government&community leaders who have already highlighted the need for a menstrual health intervention and will support our efforts.


    We will share updates about the project in the form of photos, videos and case studies on our social media and in our newsletter. Donors can sign-up to our newsletter at:

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £8,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £1,050 Engaging community champions Meetings with community influencers to engage them in the project and recruit champions to lead.
      £1,050 Training workshops Workshops with the community to explore the taboo, assess readiness to change and plan for change.
      £2,000 Behaviour change intervention Delivery of a behaviour change intervention designed by the community.
      £2,000 Resource Centre Use of Irise mobile resource centre by community, supporting access to products & teaching.
      £900 Evaluation Participatory research to assess changes in attitudes & behaviours
      £1,000 Core costs Contribution to Irise's core costs- helping us create an empowering work environment for women
  • Background


    The project will be based in Jinja district. The Women's Councillor recently called for more action to address menstrual stigma and support for adolescent girls during menstruation in this area due to high rates of girls dropping out of school or struggling to engage.


    The project will support one community to address menstrual stigma and implement a plan to ensure girls are supported long term. 2 community champions will work closely with the project team and 1,000 girls will benefit directly during the life of the project with many more benefitting beyond the project's life as attitudes and behaviours to menstruation shift.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Irise's mission is to create a world where no one is held back by their period. With our unique use of research & passion for local leadership & women's empowerment we're creating innovative solutions to menstrual health whilst shaping national and international agendas. We've spent the last 4 years perfecting our "menstruation friendly" school package- this project will help us stregthen the community engagement component- transforming menstrual taboos so that girls can realise their potential

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Emily Wilson

    Director of Irise International. Emily has spent 5 years developing menstrual health interventions for the East Africa in partnership with academics.

    Izela Barlow

    Country Manager of Irise Uganda. Izela brings experience engaging communities to end FGM to the issue of menstrual health.

"In our culture menstruation is never to be talked about, it is to be embarrassed about. In fact some people never sit next to you or shake your hand when you are having your period. You are considered dirty."

Sam, Ugandan Woman