Millions of adolescent South African school girls cannot afford sanitary pads. This results in many of them missing up to a week of school every month.
One School At A Time (OSAAT) is a registered non-profit organisation that believes that an education can be the solution to our country’s socio-economic challenges. Girls missing school because of a lack of access to sanitary pads is just one of the many different challenges OSAAT deals with. But if this keeps female scholars from full attendance, it hinders not only their own potential but also that of our country’s.
Branding and communications agency Joe Public United identified that Always, South Africa’s leading feminine hygiene product, has a programme called Always Keeping Girls in School. This programme provides donations of sanitary pads, as well as empowering educational talks on feminine hygiene and puberty. Because One School at a Time is also committed to always keeping their female learners in school, we sent Always a direct mailer asking them to bring their programme to OSAAT’s Itirele-Zenzele High School in Diepsloot, Johannesburg.
The direct mailer used what is most familiar to Always – their own packaging design. We adjusted their packs to draw attention to the shocking reality of what some girls have to resort to for sanitary wear. Each box contained a different sanitary pad substitute – namely leaves, newspaper and sand. Copy and visuals were changed to communicate the unsanitary, unhygienic and unabsorbent nature of these alternatives. Our call to action asked Always to help ensure our girls never miss school but always achieve their full academic potential.
Not only did this creative solution get Always to bring their programme to Itirele-Zenzele High School, but additionally Always also committed to adding them to the list of schools the programme visits annually. The girls also reacted very positively to Always visiting the school, saying it helped them realise that periods are a normal occurrence and that they shouldn’t feel shy about it.They also went on to say that the much needed donation will help them feel confident enough to attend school. “When I’m having my periods, I’m going to come to school always and I’m not going to miss any more school,” another girl added.
Joe Public tells us: “We would like to encourage you to help us amplify the conversation around empowering young women. And it all starts with looking after our girls today.
For more information on how your readers, listeners or viewers can support OSAAT’s commitment to education, please visit oneschoolatatime.co.za. OSAAT and Joe Public United representatives are also available for interviews. Thank you for taking the time to let us tell you more about this project.”