Learn Without Fear is a two year project that ran in 24 schools in the Blantyre district with the objective of building a safe environment conducive to better learning. Trainings helped students learn about their right to education and how to identify and deal with instances of abuse. One of the results of this project was the development of suggestion boxes where students could post concerns, fears or opinions while preserving their privacy. In response, a limited number of authorities would check and refer the content to the respective committees for reflection and action.Read more: Learn Without Fear
When it comes to a girl’s time for menstruation, there is a pervasive tendency for girls to stay home instead of attending school. Physical discomfort from lack of sanitary wear and stigma from peer pressure are huge factors contributing to constant absenteeism and increasing chances of school drop outs.Determined to keep girls in school and to preserve their right to education, GENET is working in a multitude of ways to ensure that girls are able to attend school all year round and do so comfortably.
GENET has implemented the Menstrual Health Management project in 40 schools in Blantyre, Mulanje and Mzimba districts. The project tackles different areas in order to create an environment where girls can better understand this process of change and not allow it to become a barrier.
Girl clubs form in collaboration with school staff, mother groups and hygiene clubs and undergo training on MHM. Comprehensive knowledge on the matter can change rigid mindsets on the matter and encourage girls to advocate for better health management and care in schools. The girls are also given packages of reusable sanitary wear to help alleviate physical discomforts. The project also focuses on improving water and sanitation, awareness raising and protection of dignity as its approach. By breaking cultural taboos that condemn this natural process and providing girls with the adequate materials and needs that can keep them clean and refreshed, girls should find school to be a friendly environment regardless of their menstrual cycle. Training of school staff, schoolgirls, mother groups and hygiene clubs can increase comprehensive knowledge on the matter, changing rigid mindsets on the matter and advocating for better health management and care in schools. In complements with the production of sanitary pads in our economic empowerment projects, reusable pads are distributed to the girls to keep them comfortable. The project has received overwhelming support from the community, parents and schoolgirls.