SANITATION
Hip Hop artist Buba Gives Sanitary Pads to 500+ Girls
July 20, 2015
BY FATU WURIE
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110% is a movement initiated by Sierra Leonean hip hop artist fondly known as Buba the Limba BorBor (Limba Boy).  Buba uses hip hop as a tool for positive change, creating programs and events that encourage young girls to be the best they can be – operating above the average at 110%. Buba and his team of young female artists and activists recently launched a Maxi-Pad Drive with the aim of reaching 500 young disadvantaged school going girls in Sierra Leone. There impetus is simple, to ensure that more girls go to school, stay in school and can better take care of themselves during their menstrual cycle.

Girls in developing countries miss up to one week of school every month because of their period. This results in them falling behind in classes, losing self-esteem, and eventually dropping out of school. Menstruation, a natural occurrence in every woman’s biological make up, does not need to equate to inequality. Yet, in Sierra Leone and other developing countries, the lack of access to sanitary pads and solid hygiene education for young girls can influence a girl’s education and the unlocking of her potential.

As part of his work to help young girls reach their full potential, Buba and his team, held talks with over 500 girls in 5 schools around Freetown urban/rural. Mariam Patel and Fantacee, two strong female positive artists, shared their experiences about their periods and the importance of hygiene care for a girl during her period. Sanitary pads and soap were distributed at every school. Although girls find resourceful ways to improvise sanitary pads and have been doing so for decades, some of the materials used offer limited absorbency, making it challenging for girls to participate in school comfortably. As a result, even if girls make do with make shift pads, they lack hygiene solutions.

The only way forward…

For Buba and his team, this is only the beginning. They are fully aware of the social and economic factors that affect many disadvantaged young girls during their periods. Many Sierra Leoneans live on $1.25 a day, a pack of sanitary pads (10 pads) cost about $1. The cost to accessing sanitary pads is high and thus exclusionary to many. The 110% movement seeks to develop solutions for poor communities and girls who are most affected by poverty. They are doing so by brainstorming options for affordable menstrual management products to see what makes most sense in poorer communities.  Reusable options, such as cloth pads and menstrual pads, can last for several years, but they require up-front costs, access to clean water and soap, and thorough drying –resources that aren’t always readily available.

Buba, who is also a U-reporter, has a vision for 110% - the movement. It is to create sanitary pads in Sierra Leone at a very low cost. Inspired by what is happening in Kenya, Buba and his team want to produce banana fiber sanitary pads at 20cents (1,000SLL). Their aim is to change the situation in which poverty denies young girls a positive experience during menstruation. Buba, the young male artist is an example of when men stand up for women, cultivating a group of activated youth keen to apply innovation and passion to positively impact young girls in Sierra Leone.


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