Teenage boys attending PEAS secondary schools across Uganda are leading the charge to ensure menstruation does not limit a girl’s access to education.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, girls miss an average of up to 3 days of school per month due to their period. This translates to a loss of up to 24 days in an academic year which impacts heavily on their exam results at the end of secondary school.[1]

Menstruation is one of the many barriers girls face when it comes to education in Uganda: sanitary pads are too expensive for families, water is often not in plentiful supply and the stigma surrounding periods often leaves them too embarrassed to turn up for class.

is in Senior 4 at Kityerera High School in Mayuge District of Eastern Uganda.[2]

He is one of the members of the Girls’ Club at the school which takes place after school. The Club is one of the ways PEAS are addressing the barriers marginalised girls face to secondary school participation.

“It benefits the girls very much because they are provided menstrual kits for free of charge. Some girls miss lessons when they don’t have them and they decide to stay at home. But since they have been provided with the kits a girl then doesn’t miss lessons.”

John is also in Senior 4 and attends PEAS Pioneer High School in the Central region of Uganda, close to the town of Mityana. He is adamant that ensuring there by removing the hurdles girls face to accessing education it will make a huge difference to everyone living in the country.

“It is important for the future of our nation. For the developing world, girls, nowadays, should have an education. If girls can attend education then they will fight for other girl’s right who haven’t attended school.”

So what is it like for the girls? Hear from 16 year old Felicitas who explains what a difference the Girls' Clubs make.

For more information on Girls' Clubs, listen to our BBC Radio 4 Appeal, presented by the poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy.

[1] UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2013 http://www.uis.unesco.org/Library/Documents/gmr-2013-14-teaching-and-learning-education-for-all-2014-en.pdf
[2] Senior 4 in Uganda is the equivalent of Year 11 (GCSE) in the UK and High School Diploma in the US.