RUMPS – Reusable Menstrual Pads

Jeska teaching RUMPS
Jeska teaching RUMPS

It is difficult for South Sudanese refugee girls to receive an education in rural Northern Uganda and they have a very high drop out rate. One of the many factors, but an important one, is an inability to manage their periods while attending school. This often means missing 4 or 5 days a month from school translating into 11% of school days missed due to menstruation.

In a typical group of 60 girls only around 9 are wearing underpants. Here in the UK, disposable pads and underpants are the norm, freely available and relatively affordable. In rural Northern Uganda, most people are on a very low income and exist mainly outside the cash economy. A girl can not just ask her father for money for pads, and children simply do not have money of their own. The girls manage their periods by staying home for four or five days. Unless they are unusually bright and determined, they fall behind and are seen as dim by their teachers and parents. When it comes to which children should get their school fees paid, the parents usually choose a son before a daughter for cultural reasons. If the daughter’s school report is poor, then the decision is even easier to make.

Reusable Menstral Pads for South Sudanese refugees in UgandaCRESS RUMPS training programme

CRESS have created a RUMPS training programme which includes 3 days of training on the menstrual cycle, hygiene and family planning, 1 notebook to keep details of their learning, 2 reusable menstrual pads and 2 pairs of underwear.

The reusable menstrual pads are made as part of the programme and can be made from material the family already owns. Some of the original RUMPS trainees have created small businesses for themselves making the pads and selling them to others who have the income to afford them.

RUMPS - making reusable menstural pads in Uganda
RUMPS – making reusable menstrual pads in Uganda

2020 News

Melanie spoke to some of the original recipients of the training so we could see the difference the RUMPS project has made and so we have been looking for funding to be able to extend our RUMPS programme.

The National Committee of Women’s World Day of Prayer, England, Wales and Northern Ireland has just granted CRESS a life-changing £5000 towards the provision of reusable sanitary pads and underwear for South Sudanese refugee women and girls. A huge thank you to the committee and we will keep you up to date with how these pads change refugees lives.

Find out more about the Women’s World Day of Prayer for England, Wales & Northern Ireland.

If you are interested in funding more RUMPs projects in Northern Uganda, please contact us or