Just as the project title reads, someone somewhere realized girls from poor backgrounds were missing lessons, simply because they could not afford Sanitary towels! Meet Florence Kamaitha and Evans Muriu, who have a cause to raise funds to set up a factory to reproduce re-usable sanitary towels.
Here is their story
What is the name of your project: No Missing Periods coz of Periods.
School girls at the Maisha Mapya programme
Why did you choose the project : We visited a school in Thika, and the head teacher shared the plight of the girls,. The school unblocks toilets every week, as the girls in the school use pieces of clothes, blankets and chunks of mattresses during their menses. This is very unhygienic, but the bitter part of the story is that most of them cannot not afford sanitary towels, and with everyone around the country trying to raise funds to buy the sanitary towels and donate to the girls, we thought we could come up with a better, economic and hygienic way to solve this problem….re-usable Sanitary towels.
What is the inspiration behind the project: We were informed that some girls miss school during their menses 4 days every 28 days. The same girl will lose 13 days each term because of her menses. In a whole academic year, she will lose up to 39 days, which is 6 weeks of learning time. If we don’t help solve the situation now, we will have drop –outs while still in school and thus the name, No Missing Periods coz of Periods.
Last Blogpost I mentioned the large group of people willing to spend lots of effort and time on projects in developing countries. These people mostly do this during weekends and after working hours. They spend a lot of time writing project proposals, looking for funds, emailing with their partners in the South and meeting with the board of their foundation to make future plans. They mostly do not have a lot of time but their ambitions are huge.
In the Netherlands there are about 15.000 what we call ‘Private Initiatives’. People who, in most cases, have travelled to or did volunteer work in development countries and who started an NGO (Non-governmental organization) when they came back from their trip. The reason for doing this was that they saw with their own eyes that with small solutions often great things were possible. At the same time friends, family, neighbours and colleagues were willing to give a donations to the projects they started together with their partners in Africa, Asia or Latin America.
Me, myself; (Hi, my name is Margreet van der Pijl and I am the project manager at the 1%CLUB) I was also involved in a private initiative in Ghana. A couple of years ago we were extremely enthusiastic about the project we were planning to implement. We were building a factory where the local inhabitants of the village in which we were working could process cassava into “Gari” a local product used in many different dishes. We gathered money, hired a local contractor and started the project. After a couple of months the building was finished and the factory was ready to be used. In the beginning many cassavas were processed and many bags of Gari produced. But after a while the problem of distribution occurred: there was no system of profit sharing. As a result of this the farmers who were donating their cassava stopped doing this and the factory closed on a temporary notice.
Obviously we forgot to contribute to what is called “knowledge building of the local community”, a common point of critique towards “Private Initiatives” . The project collapsed as a result of this mistake as soon as we left the project location. The lack of local knowledge building and many other points of critique are mentioned in several research reports (Schulpen (2007), Kinsbergen(2010)). Issues on sustainability, a good project team and effectiveness are crucial for the success of a project. Organizing a project which include all these factors and which was thought through from different perspectives is what we understand as a project with high quality.
Who are we alone (as ‘experts’) to judge what the quality of a project is? Many people together know more than one (collective intelligence). That is why we invite the whole world to watch with us and together help innovative ideas to become successful. Welcome to the 1%CROWD.
In the next blogs I will share more with you on the subject of small-scale projects, quality standards and improvement of long-term results of these projects.
Picture by: Bernard Uyttendaele