Girls also have limited options for feminine hygiene products and may have to use “traditional” methods such as cloths, papers or leaves, which can be uncomfortable and allow leakage onto clothes. Where options such as pads do exist, they are often cost prohibitive. Over 80% of the population lives on less than $2 a day and approximately 60% of the population lives in severe poverty, so families prioritize their spending on food and other essentials.
These challenges lead to more serious issues such as reproductive diseases caused by poor menstrual hygiene, and contribute to school absenteeism. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, one in ten African girls do not attend school during menstruation. In addition, girls may refrain from participating in physical activities and have a lower level of confidence.