Empowering girls in Zimbabwe to overcome period poverty.

How one organisation is making a difference in the country’s fight against period poverty.

Period poverty is a widespread issue in Zimbabwe that is worsened by an economic crisis. Young girls and women from underprivileged backgrounds cannot afford sanitary products, restoring to use rags as the cost of period products continues to rise.

Period poverty refers to the inability to afford pads and tampons, 72% of Zimbabwean girls do not use sanitary products as they cannot afford to purchase them and 62% of girls miss out on school every month due to lack of sanitary wear, according to the study by SNV Zimbabwe.

Dzidzo Safepad, is a community-based organisation tackling period poverty in the country by bridging the gap in accessing menstrual products. The organisation has trained 500 girls to make their own reusable sanitary pads. Dzidzo is a Shona language term which loosely translates to “education.”

Chrystal Bonzo, the founder of Dzidzo Safepad, said the frustration of witnessing menstrual inequalities among young girls made her start the initiative.

“I started the Dzidzo Safepad in 2021 during the pandemic, l wanted to use the skills l have to make sustainable menstrual products, as an organisation we have trained 500 girls to make reusable sanitary pads and we have donated hygiene kits to girls in unprivileged communities,” she said.

Zimbabwe is also facing a water crisis. The country’s period poverty is also exacerbated by factors like lack of access to clean water and sanitation facilities.