Access to sanitary products is essential for anyone who menstruates. But here in East Africa, many women and girls can’t afford to buy or don’t have access to the safe sanitary products that they need to manage their periods without shame or stigma. Girls are often forced to use whatever they can to manage their periods, including rags, newspapers and even tree leaves or mud. For the ones who are able to access some sanitary towels, many have no choice but to re-use the same, used one for many days. In both instances women and girls put their health at a serious risk
Use of disposable sanitary products is also harming the environment. Most sanitary pads contain up to 90% plastic, while tampons have plastic applicators and sometimes come in individual plastic wrappers. The production of plastic and improper disposal of these products is causing increased pollution and filling up landfills
The solution? Well, the approach Land & Life is taking for now is provision of reusable sanitary pads, designed to provide protection and comfort for girls. The pads are made from high-performance textiles and can be washed and dried before safe and comfortable reuse, making them a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution.
Thanks to a generous donation from Elewana guests Karen Mahler and Julie Morman, 86 girls received one pack each of reusable pads, with each pack containing 4 reusable pads and 1 storage bag. The donation was accompanied by menstrual hygiene training and the appropriate use and care of the pads from Unita Mesami, the Education Officer from Loisaba Conservancy. One pack of pads should last each girl up to 12 months, saving the need to worry for a whole year and reducing waste considerably.