Elizabeth participated in the virtual internship program with the hope to gain some international working experience for the very first time. Her goal was to learn about a new culture while also gaining skills to carry into future career endeavors. Through working with a nongovernmental organization abroad, experience working on a sustainable development project was also achieved for the first time.
While working with Busoga Trust organization, the community of Bugaga A identified a need for access to hygienic and sustainable menstrual pads. They further identified the desire for access to adequate training on menstrual hygiene and reproductive health. The main goals of addressing these community-defined needs were to educate Bugaga A on safe sex practices and menstrual health hygiene management. To address these needs and achieve the project goals, the project was composed of informative training sessions including discussions about menstrual health and hygiene along with the teaching of making reusable cloth pads.
The first activity employed in the project was participation in group discussions and training led by the community health inspector, Munyette Budala. These discussions were about growth and development in girls and first introduced the topics to the community.. The community was able to learn about the biology of the menstrual cycle and was able to discuss stigmas surrounding their menstrual cycles. The goal of this activity was to increase overall comfort discussing menstrual health. The second activity was teaching the community how to make reusable cloth pads. Everyone was able to follow along with Harriet’s demonstrations of tracing, cutting, and sewing on the flannel and PVC materials to successfully make one pad.
Bugaga A plans to continue to meet as a group to continue the efforts sustained with Busoga Trust. They will continue putting funds aside each week to purchase pad making materials. Future efforts working with the community could be geared toward family planning. Interactive demonstrations, showing the community different forms of contraception and proper condom usage could be adopted to continue to alleviate the community-addressed problem of rising incidences of unplanned pregnancies. Investment in a sewing machine could also help ensure the production of the highest quality reusable pads for the community.
Project Intern: Elizabeth Conforti - SUNY Genesseo
Partner Organization - Busoga Trust