Published on: 11/08/2013
A survey conducted in 140 schools in seven districts in Uganda, revealed that 61 percent of girls drop out of school and 57 percent absent themselves due to their menstrual periods. Support in safely managing their periods is a critical factor in keeping girls in school.
The results of this study, carried out by SNV and IRC in Arua, Adjumai, Budibugyo, Kasese, Kyenjojo, Lira, and Sorti districts, reflect that the provision of better menstrual management materials and facilities is a key means of keeping girls in school. Many of the schools lack sustainable menstrual hygiene management support for the girls, from basics such as suitable facilities and low cost sanitary materials to psychological support and information for girls dealing with menstruation. Many of the girls and female teachers who took part in the survey preferred to stay at home during their period.
About half of the girl pupils interviewed report missing 1-3 days of school per month due to their menstrual periods. This means per term a girl pupil may miss up to 8 days of study. This translates into a loss of 8 to 24 school days per year, out of the 220 learning days on average, which is 11% of their school time .
If not addressed, poor menstrual hygiene management will not only lead to more girls missing school, but can potentially cause an in increase in the number of girls dropping out of school altogether.
The study is now being shared with sector stakeholders to seek sustainable solutions. These can be undertaken by stakeholders from school up to national level. The Ministry of Education and Sports and the National Sanitation Working Group are recommended to include menstrual hygiene in the national education sector performance report and the monitoring and evaluation systems of primary schools.