To improvise Janet uses an old rag when she has her period – something which can cause severe reproductive and urinary tract infections in women and girls. Cloths aren’t always properly washed and are stored in damp and unhygienic conditions for use the following month.
“As an unemployed woman working as a peasant farmer with only two hectares of land it is difficult to make ends meet. There is no way I can spend $2.00 USD each month on pads. I would rather buy cooking oil with the money I have.”
80% of women in Janet’s locality are not formally employed and rely on small-scale subsistence farming for survival. They can’t afford sanitary pads and they don’t prioritize buying them.
Trócaire works with communities in rural Zimbabwe to improve women’s health and well being -supporting women’s self-esteem and confidence is a top priority for Trócaire and its partners.
To help women and girls in Zimbabwe restore their dignity, the Diocese of Mutare Community Care Programme (DOMCCP), supported by Trócaire, have implemented a women’s empowerment programme to help combat period poverty in the Mutasa district.
Dignity kits containing sanitary pads, toothpaste, toothbrush, petroleum jelly and soap were handed out to 1,000 women. Janet was one of the recipients and she couldn’t be happier.
“I am really grateful to DOMCCP and Trócaire. This kind gesture allows us as women to restore our dignity.”
The dignity kits are designed to last two months and each woman received the kits three times this year so far.
This women’s initiative has been supporting Government efforts in the fight to end period poverty in remote parts of Zimbabwe, with the aim of making Sexual Reproductive Health services accessible to all.
Zimbabwe has the highest inflation rate in the world and as a result, the price of sanitary pads has skyrocketed. According to SNV Netherlands Development Organization, 72% of menstruating schoolgirls in Zimbabwe do not use sanitary pads because they cannot afford them.
How can you help combat period poverty?
Safeguarding dignity amongst women and girls is vital for living through the most unimaginable humanitarian crisis.
This €10 menstrual dignity kit can help safeguard dignity amongst women and girls and combat period poverty in the countries where we work.
The dignity kit provides girls with access to reusable pads, soap, cloths, underwear and a ‘how to’ guide. A percentage of the gift will also go towards programmes aimed at educating and destigmatising periods.