Girls in Control (GiC) aims at increasing school attendance for adolescent school girls, through improved menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in schools and facilitating access to safe, affordable and sustainable sanitary materials through a value chain business model.
South Sudan’s children need schools where students, parents, teachers and other stakeholders all work together on improving education. Through appropriate sanitation, but also by creating an environment that allows girls to attend school with a sense of security and dignity. In our baseline survey, it was revealed that, on average, 61.6% of schoolgirls in South Sudan skip school for four to eight days during their menstruation periods, thus missing out on education. Lack of privacy and proper sanitation and hygiene facilities were cited as reasons.
In close cooperation with the South Sudanese authorities, SNV’s Girls in Control project covers 50 schools in Eastern Equatoria to help stop the stigma surrounding mentruation and increase school retention rates. We help the government and communities to fix and rehabilitate school buildings, install sanitation and hygiene facilities, and offer housing for teachers in nine selected pilot schools.
SNV is now working on creating ways for girls to access affordable menstrual pads. It is first introducing the concept to people who are unfamiliar with modern menstrual hygiene, and training youth groups and local NGOs to spread the message. We are also assisting the Ministry of Education to ensure that there is adequate policy provision. And we are working with the private sector to explore options for producing menstrual pads in South Sudan rather than relying on expensive imports.