Her Education Matters update project report
An update on the Her Education Matters project funded by our supporters, which is being run in Malawi by our project partners African Vision.
Her Education Matters started in April 2019 with the training of 2 ladies from M’teza mothers group. Once trained they started to make up washable sanitary pads. We then set them up at Sam’s Village opposite M’teza Primary School. This was the first school to be selected out of 6 to be supported through this project.
A further 2 Mother group ladies from Namanyanga were trained. These ladies are now able to make pads on their own and they are able to make 10 to 15 each day (Namanyanga ladies) and 20 to 25 each day (M’teza). They have all together made 421 pads and we have distributed 71 packs (each with 3 pads, 3 pants and soap) at M’teza and 28 packs at Namanyanga.
One of the outcome indicators was that trained women will be able to use sewing machines. This has been achieved. All the four women are able using the machines without problems.
African Vision have continued to provide materials for the women to make pads, but have run out of waterproofing fabric as they were relying on visitors from UK to bring these over (old umbrella fabrics). They have been looking for local resources that are soft plastic and have just sourced some shops in Lilongwe where we can buy these.
There was also a period of time after Covid-19 guidelines came in, at the end of March where African Vision trained the mothers up to make washable masks for the community. All schools in Malawi were closed on 23rd March and have only opened to Standard 8 pupils on 7th September.
The Her Education Matters project has funded 5 schools namely; M’teza, Namanyanga, Bowa, Chitsime and Mkunkhu. The original proposal was to build 6 with a budget of MK500,000 but they ended up costing us a further 200,000. The communities were contributing bricks and sand and also the contractors were coming from within the communities (we used local contractors).
The washrooms have 3 rooms, a bathroom, toilet and a drying area for pads/pants. We designed them in that way because at first it was found that schools have inadequate toilets for girls and that they have no bathrooms where girls could wash/clean themselves when menstruating. The stakeholders such as school committees (mother groups, PTA and school management committee), Teachers and chiefs are giving full support in this project by each contributing according to their responsibilities.
Monitoring the project
The teachers will be recording the attendance of girls in Standards 5 to 8. The impact of the project will be monitored by tracking girls' attendance, performance, dropout rates and early pregnancies.