A Pilot Program Takes to the SkiesApril 19, 2023The UVP Team At St. Margaret Secondary School in Nabitende, students have been learning more than just math, history, or science. During a pilot adolescent reproductive health (ARH) project, UVP staff taught St. Margaret students about puberty, the male and female reproductive systems, and the menstrual cycle. The ARH pilot project, generously supported by Bushrod H. Campbell and Adah F. Hall Charity Fund, aims to equip adolescent youths with knowledge about their reproductive health. I sat down with Head Teacher Mr. Wakuya to hear his thoughts on the program thus far. According to Mr. Wakuya, the program has helped his students to make informed decisions about their sexual health, become more comfortable with their changing bodies, and decreased stigma surrounding menstruation. Mr. Wakuya also noted that his daughter, a Senior 2 student at St. Margaret, was positively impacted by the program. He explained that his daughter felt shy when she first started menstruating and did not feel comfortable asking himself or her mother for support and sanitary pads. Now, after attending a pilot program education session, she feels comfortable asking her parents for help purchasing pads. Mr. Wakuya explained that he is grateful for the initiative, and hopes for similar programming in the future. One problem that Mr. Wakuya hopes to address at St. Margaret is that many female students cannot afford sanitary pads, causing them to miss school while on their period. Sometimes, this can lead to girls dropping out of school altogether. Later this year, the pilot program will expand; in addition to more information sessions, female students will have the opportunity to attend practical workshops to learn how to sew reusable sanitary pads. By adding a reusable pad workshop, we can remove sanitary product access barriers that many girls face, and offer a dedicated, safe space for the girls to ask questions about their own reproductive health. In total, UVP will be supporting 10 schools with our ARH project in 2023. To learn more about our full reproductive health program, visit https://ugandavillageproject.org/reproductive-health.