Rose Johnson is an FSD Uganda alumna from Indiana University USA. The internship at FSD Jinja Uganda, gave her an opportunity to work with The African Network for Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect Uganda (ANPPCAN - Jinja) – FSD host organization that works to build a Ugandan society in which all children are secure, respected and cared for.
From her community assessment in different primary schools in Busedde Sub-county, Rose identified: sub optimal school club leadership and sustainability; minimal child empowerment; sub optimal hygiene among girls in managing their menstrual cycles, and high drop-out rates related to issues surrounding menstruation, as the key community priorities that needed to be addressed.
Basing on her observations, Rose worked with the school to start a project that aimed at building student and teacher capacity to control school drop-out rates and improve child participation in advocating for child rights at Namasiga School. The objectives of the project were: 1) to strengthen the policies and processes around the child rights club and other clubs at the school, 2) to develop a reusable sanitary pad-making project so as to improve access to sanitary pads in order to facilitate improvement in menstrual and hygiene; to ultimately decrease school drop-out rates; and to provide a source of income for the school.
In order to achieve her objectives, Rose worked with the ANPPCAN staff team, school teachers and the students to organize and implement a series of training activities. These included: Club formation training; training in making and designing sanitary pads; training in selling and marketing the sanitary pads; creating emergency pads from locally available materials; and training club leaders in management of project finances. The trainings culminated into full engagement and participation of teachers and students in improving the existing school child rights club and making reusable sanitary pads. The project also developed and printed a training manual guide for making reusable sanitary pads to be used in future, long after this project.
The menstrual health project quickly reorganized and reenergized the existing school clubs to advocate for children rights, with students taking lead and building self confidence. The project also empowered students with skills for making and selling sanitary pads thus increasing access to sanitary pads and addressing challenges of menstrual hygiene. It is hoped that the interventions related to the menstrual health project will go a long way to contribute to a reduction of school drop out rates at Namasiga School.
With full internship guidance from the FSD Jinja site team, support from ANPPCAN staff team and other project stakeholders, Rose made an important contribution to the host organization, the students of Namasiga School and the entire community of Busedde subcounty.