Period Poverty and the Dignity Project
Period poverty is a worldwide problem that affects millions of women and girls every day. It refers to the lack of access to menstrual products, proper sanitation facilities, and education about menstrual health. It is a complex issue that is deeply rooted in social, economic, and cultural factors.
The global impact of period poverty is staggering. According to UNICEF, one in ten girls in sub-Saharan Africa misses school during their menstrual cycle. In India, over 113 million adolescent girls are at risk of dropping out of school due to lack of menstrual hygiene management.
Women and girls who cannot afford menstrual products are often forced to use unsafe materials such as rags, leaves, or newspapers, which can lead to serious health complications.
Women and girls who miss school or work due to their periods are unable to reach their full potential, and can become far more vulnerable to the tactics of traffickers as a result.
One By One has identified that this was a key concern in remote regions of Kenya. The One By One staff located in Busia County conducted research amongst the local elementary and High schools and discovered that many girls were missing a week of school each month due to period poverty. As a result of missing a quarter of their elementary education, many female students were not enrolling into High school and would drop out of education at this stage to seek employment. One By One ascertained that period poverty was a vulnerability factor leading girls into Human trafficking situations and therefore launched the Dignity Project.
This initiative provides reusable sanitary products and delivers critical training to participants. The distributed pads are developed with natural fibers and are both toxic free and chemical free. The high-quality, anti-microbial treated fabric prevents health hazards like urinary tract infections or yeast infections. These are not only environmentally friendly, but the pads ensure the girls can stay in school every week of the month without fear of embarrassment or shame.
In addition, our One By One team delivers essential training which covers, but is not limited to:
- Education and awareness about menstrual health and hygiene, removing the stigma surrounding periods and empowering women and girls to take charge of their health.
- Empowering the girls to take a stand against sexual abuse and understanding their self worth.
- Human trafficking prevention training including the tactics commonly used in the different localities.
What started in a remote village in Western Kenya, has quickly spread throughout eight countries and has reached nearly 30,000 girls to-date.
One By One staff globally are passionate about gender equality and believe no girl should miss her education or be at risk of human trafficking due to period poverty.