Sanitary napkin project – keeping girls in school

The Sanitary Napkins project is being implemented in six public primary schools. This project is timely in reducing the number of girls absent from school due to menstruation. The aim is to enable girls to attend school five days a week, just like their male classmates.


This initiative is in partnership with the Claudine Talon Foundation (FCT), which offers specific training to accompany the girls. 500 packs of 4 reusable sanitary towels were purchased from the FCT and distributed to the schools.

Marcienne Houénou, local director of our Foundation, explains the rationale for this project.Today, some girls in the fourth year of primary school already have their first period. If they are surprised by menstruation at school, they are embarrassed to find themselves stained. To avoid this and sometimes the mockery of some of their classmates, they go home. This state of affairs pushes these girls to stay at home for at least four days, or one week every month, in the middle of the school year. The consequence: poor school results at the end of the year and then dropping out of school. Therefore, it is to reverse this trend that Rotary has funded this project.

One bag of towels contains four reusable sanitary towels. This is enough to allow the girls to go to the toilet properly and wear their pads when they return to school if their periods come. They can wash the used napkins every evening to use them again the following days.

The support explains the project’s importance to the teaching staff and the parents’ association. The girls’ mothers are asked to calmly explain how to help their daughters deal with this critical stage of their lives. The calculation of a woman’s menstrual cycle and the care of sanitary towels are discussed. Demonstrations show everyone how to use the pads to avoid staining during menstruation. The mothers and their daughters are happy with the added value of the Rotary Foundation, supported by the municipalities of Mechelen and Bierbeek. They promise to help their daughters make good use of the sanitary towels.

Some pictures of awareness-raising actions at the public primary school of Kassouala.