The Heshima Project - tackling barriers to education surrounding menstrual health

*This project has now completed - now activities now come under the Inclusion Project*

In southern Tanzania, women and girls face huge barriers to accessing education due to poor, undignified sanitation facilities, a lack of understanding of their rights and harmful cultural beliefs. The Heshima Project provides a holistic, cost effective solution to these challenges giving girls the chance of a very different future.

Funded by UK Aid and contributing to the global effort to end poverty, combat inequalities, promote prosperity and safeguard vulnerable individuals from exploitation and abuse, the Heshima project is educating girls about their bodies, empowering them to make informed choices and enabling them to remain in education.

I worked hard in class and wanted to go to secondary school, but when I started bleeding at 12 my father said I had to marry his cousin because his first wife had died and I was now a woman

Heshima Project Activities

We are delivering a menstrual health education programme providing girls with the knowledge and confidence they need to prepare for, and manage menstruation.

This includes weekly Girls' Clubs, providing a safe space to bring issues and ask questions about menstruation and other gender specific issues so that they are better informed about their bodies and their rights. Girls are being taught to make re-usable sanitary products - a skill that will benefit them throughout their lives.

Washrooms equipped with sanitary products, spare clothes and a private space to change and rest ensure that girls can attend school during their periods.

Dignity Champions are being trained to deliver the programme long-term and develop Dignity Plans ensuring sustainability post project.

An awareness raising campaign, starting conversations with boys, parents and wider community members essential to breaking down the taboos that are holding women and girls back from achieving their full potential.

A forum of NGOs, government officers, media and other influential actors meet regularly to explore gender related issues and work collectively to promote the rights of women and girls at a local and national level.

I was 11 when I noticed blood in my pants – I was scared and thought I was dying. My mother died having my younger sister and I remembered there was a lot of blood. I told my father who said I should be ashamed. I have to use leaves and mud to stop the bleeding from staining my clothes

Girls need your help to stay in school - please consider donating or fundraising