Thursday, December 2, 2010

Comfort Campaign

 Innovative ways to Keep Girls in School

 The natural process of menstruation comes as a big problem to women and girls in many parts of Africa, contributing to both disempowerment and health risks. Sometimes there are taboo subjects that people don't want to talk about but also being open about these taboo subjects can bring about positive changes in society. One such example is menstruation, and its impact on keeping the girls in school during their periods. In addition to family pressures to stay at home to help with chores or child rearing, girls that do try to persevere with their education may end up dropping out once they reach puberty, at the onset of menstruation.  When a young girl starts to menstruate, she may experience negative attitudes which result in her being prohibited from cooking or even banished to the countryside during her period. In some religious sects, women and girls are not allowed to attend church or any religious gathering during their period because they are deemed unclean at that moment. In some African societies, some men shun food prepared by women during their period. In Africa, the menstruation experience impacts negatively on girls due to lack of appropriate and affordable sanitary products such as pads. Research shows that in Africa some girls drop out of school due to lack of sanitary pads, separate toilets and easy access to clean water. 

Wellspring Women's Network is undertaking an initiative to help make affordable sanitary products available to young girls and women in less privileged societies of Zimbabwe, Southern Africa. The goal of this initiative is to source and seek for donations of sanitary products, and make them available to these needy people. This is in conjunction with providing basic training in menstrual hygiene. Through provision of Comfort Kits, Wellspring Women’s Network believes it can make a valuable contribution to help these underprivileged girls. Traditionally, women and girls in most rural areas have used cloth rags, tree bark, newspapers as sanitary wear during their monthly menstruation cycle.  However, in some cases, cloth is scarce. Also in many parts of Africa clean water is scarce and this compromises the hygienic standards of maintaining these sanitary cloths The Comfort kits  are pre-packed  kits with sanitary ware that includes re-usable wash cloths, conventional store bought pads, soap among other items as shown below. Each kit will also provide a basic education manual on Menstrual Hygiene and also basic education on HIV/AIDS prevention. Because of emotional and psychological tension associated with the menstrual process, it is estimated that within the 4 years of high school some girls loose 156 learning days, equivalent to 22 weeks out of 144 weeks of learning in high school. This initiative by Wellspring Women’s network is aimed at helping alleviate this problem and enable girls attend school and fulfill their academic abilities.  There is also a need for social innovation around this issue. Global alliances between the developed and underdeveloped societies can be a key solution to the problem and ensure that every woman be able to have access to the right products which can enable them to happily experience menstruation.


Thursday, November 18, 2010


Girls' Education, Sexual Behaviour and AIDS in Africa

Strong Foundations for HIV Protection and Prevention
Girls educated to secondary and tertiary levels are more likely to wait before having sex, are much more likely to use condoms when they do have sex, and are therefore at much less risk of contracting HIV

One of the latest trends in the development of Aids in Africa is its increasing feminization. In Africa, Over 7.5 million young people aged 15-24 are living with HIV & AIDS, and 70% of those are young women and girls. In recent research on girls’ education, sexual behavior and HIV, shows that secondary education provides African girls with the power to make sexual choices that prevent HIV infection. The research shows that uneducated girls were more vulnerable to Aids. As sex education improves and a greater understanding of HIV prevention develops, more educated girls became less likely to contract HIV.

Education gives girls power, reduces vulnerability and helps them make more independent, confident choices about their sexual behavior. Schools, teachers, are the most trusted source for young people to learn about HIV, and that school attendance ensures greater understanding of prevention messages. It also strengthens girls’ control, confidence and negotiating abilities to decide if to have sex, and when they do, whether to use a condom or not. Peer groups within schools strengthen girls’ social networks and create more responsible attitudes to sexual behavior, safer sex and HIV.

Girls who drop out of school are more likely to enter into adult sexual networks, where older partners with more experience and power dictate the “rules” of sexual engagement. Poverty and vulnerability to HIV are closely linked. More educated women have better economic and social prospects and consequently have more choices. Despite the role of education in protecting girls from HIV infection, more children worldwide do not receive an education. In most African countries, more than 10 million girls have never been to primary school and some children still have to pay school fees to go to school.

At Wellspring Women's Network, we urge all countries in Africa to broaden the curriculum to include sex education, encouraging teenage mothers back into education and those Primary schools should be free to achieve maximum access to education.

"Young women receiving higher levels of education are likely to wait longer before having sex for the first time, and are less likely to be coerced into sex. Strikingly, girls with more education are far more likely to use condoms and they are less likely to contract HIV."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Why should girls stay in School

Education, especially of girls and woman, is widely regarded as the best investment that most developing countries can make. African girls are some of the brightest and most dedicated individuals you will ever meet, and when given a bit of assistance in achieving their goals, they make the world a substantially better place. Study after study has shown the significant economic and social benefits of educating girls. Investing in girls education leads directly to increased economic growth, delays marriages, improves health and nutrition,  and increases child survival rates. The education of girls has repeatedly proven to be the single most effective tool for development. Girls without an education will be greatly disadvantaged in the future and will struggle with maximizing their potential as adults.

For many African girls, education is equivalent to life itself. Education is frequently
the only path through which girls escape the devastating and vicious cycle of poverty.
Patriarchy continues to dominate African society, and the girl-child pays the heaviest
price. Although more girls are now attending primary school, the numbers drop
significantly as these students progress to the later grades. When poverty forces
parents to choose which child they must educate, the boys are selected first.

Indeed, girls without an education will be greatly disadvantaged in the future and will struggle with maximizing their potential as adults.

"Educate a girl...Change the world"

The Problem :
  • Many girls drop out of school due to absenteeism during their menstrual cycle.
  • High rates of urinary tract infections result from poor hygiene supplies and improper hygiene education.
The Wellspring Women's Network Solution :
  • Provide hygiene supplies, reusable pads to reduce absenteeism from school
  • Provide proper health education.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sanitary Pads Project

Wellspring Women's Network and our sanitary pad project came as a result of growing up in Zimbabwe, seeing a problem and searching for solutions. Every girl or women should celebrate her period, which is very easy to say when a healthy period is only a trip away to CVs, Walgreens. ln Zimbabwe and some parts of the African continent it can be a day or two worth of wages  to raise money to buy a pack of sanitary pads.

Periods, l tell can be a major hurdle to many girls across Africa. Many girls go through horrible things during their cycle, the percentage number of girls who stay home during their cycle is shocking, because they cannot simply afford to buy sanitary wear. Reportedly there are girls who use softened tree bark, tree leaves, newspapers, rags, mud and yes mud. This poses great health risks due to the different dyes and chemicals used on newsprint and urinary tract infections.
 This is a national catastrophe in Zimbabwe and across Africa.

This to me is a question of social justice.
The rate of poverty in Zimbabwe is unimaginable, unemployment is in the region of 90%. To allow girls and their future to drown deeper into the poverty lane because they lack funds necessary to stem the flow of their monthly periods and sit out of school for 3-4 days is mind boggling.

This project arrived as an attempt to do something and change a girls's life. This matter is solvable if the right people and right minds come together to solve it. Our aim here at Wellspring Women's Network is to find low cost sanitary pads, majority of these come from donations. We seriously need to retain the large number of girls back to the classrooms by providing them with sanitary wear.

The implementation of this project sounds like a great challenge, however with the right partners in place we can safely say "the sky is the limit".

With girls depending on us, we cannot simply afford to fail them.

Thank you for your interest and partnership.

Wellspring Women's Network.

Learn more about Zimbabwe

"Zimbabwe was once the bread basket of the African continent"
some of the contributing factors of the country's meltdown are:

  • unemployment is estimated to be approximately 90%
  • Economic turmoil, Balloning debt, sporadic shortages of commodities
  • Cholera outbreak "Health delivery system in near total collapse"
  • Skilled professionals and loberers have and continue to leave Zimbabawe in massive numbers
  • The rate of Poverty sprung up, more than 1,3million children have been orphaned by the  HIV\AIDS   causing surving grandparents to bear the burden of caring for their grandchildren

Life expectancy for women is 34years.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Welcome to our Blog

About Zimbabwe
Population : 12 million
Area : 390000 sq. km
Capital  Harare
Languages   English, Shona, Ndebele
Location: Southern Africa, bordered by South Africa in the south, Mozambique in the east, Zambia in the north, Botswana and Namibia in the south and north west
Climate: Sub-tropical mainly temperate climate with summer rainfall (normally from November to March, usually late afternoon) and dry winters with no rainfall
Religion: Christianity predominates
More information about Zimbabwe can be found here: