Support for women in Rwanda

New funding for reusable sanitary products project.

More women and girls in Rwanda will get better access to sanitary products through £100,000 of funding from the Scottish Government. 

In partnership with Scottish Water and WaterAid, the funding will enable women to create a steady income by equipping them with the skills, tools and materials they need to produce affordable reusable sanitary pads. 

These pads will then be distributed to schools for free helping to reach over 11,000 girls. 

Fundraising by Scottish Water will contribute £50,000 to the project, while a local WaterAid worker in Rwanda will support delivery on the ground. 

The announcement comes on World Menstrual Hygiene Day (28 May 2019), which highlights the importance of good menstrual hygiene management and aims to breakdown stigma around menstruation. 

Speaking at an event in Glasgow to launch access to free sanitary products for Scottish Water staff, Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: 

“The lack of access to sanitary products continues to be a global issue. It is estimated that 65% of women in Rwanda cannot afford sanitary products and girls often skip school when they have their period.

“We have led the way in Scotland to provide access to free sanitary products in schools, colleges and university to ensure that products are available to those who need them. We want to reduce the stigma around periods and this includes increasing access to products through our international development programme.

“This funding can help support women and girls in Rwanda to promote good menstrual hygiene and enable girls to continue their education, without having to miss school because of their period.”

Shirley Campbell, Director for People at Scottish Water, visited Rwanda earlier this year and saw how employee fundraising and WaterAid projects are improving conditions for girls. She said: 

“Menstrual hygiene and dignity – whether here or in Africa – are such important issues. I’m proud that we’re able to both support our employees from today by providing free sanitary products and continue to work with communities in Rwanda to make significant improvements to the lives of women and girls.”

Elizabeth McKernan, Manager of WaterAid Scotland & Northern Ireland, said:

“We welcome this funding and already our projects have helped 1,600 girls in four schools in Rwanda. These pupils now have decent toilets and somewhere private to wash and can manage their periods safely and with dignity. Once pupils understand that periods are nothing to be ashamed of, everyone can focus on getting an education and a brighter future.”



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