Students visit Uganda as part of campaign to raise awareness of period poverty

International work will feature as part of documentary by Bleedin’ Saor collective

Date posted

1 July 2019

11:25

A creative collective from Edinburgh Napier that aims to raise awareness of period poverty has taken its campaign to East Africa as part of a once in a lifetime trip to Uganda.  

Bleedin’ Saor – a collective made up of Product Design, Film and TV students as well as staff members from the University’s School of Arts and Creative Industries – was formed earlier this year to drive a campaign to put an end to the stigma surrounding ‘that time of the month’. 

Among a number of initiatives the team has been working on – including the design of a new period product dispenser for Edinburgh Napier’s student-facing toilets and the organisation of the first University Bloody Big Brunch event – has been a documentary, capturing the team’s campaign alongside global efforts in the menstrual movement. 

The 10 day adventure saw the group meet with and interview members of a number of organisations within the country who are fighting for better period product provision, gender equality and women’s’ rights. 

From meeting staff at the Girl Up Initiative which aims to empower women and girls and seeing first-hand the work it is doing to highlight gender-based violence to viewing menstrual health workshops in secondary schools alongside sharing ideas with Maka Pads, a social enterprise producing sanitary pads using locally-sourced papyrus, the team met inspiring individuals who are working tirelessly to foster positive change within the country. 

The trip also saw the Bleedin’ Saor team meet up with Irise International which aims to create menstruation friendly schools in Uganda. With the charity, the team were able to run a focus group and present their own ideas to a primary school in Buwenge, a town in the Eastern region of Uganda. 

The team – through its three designers Sam Calder, Hannah Stevens and Brogan Henderson – has been working with both Edinburgh Napier and Hey Girls social enterprise to design two new dispensers for period products. 

Members of Womena, Public Health Ambassadors and Days for Girls Uganda charities were also interviewed for the documentary. 

Due in 2020, the film is being directed by Cosima de los Arcos - fourth year BA Film – and will be produced by Lizzie Gardiner – third year BA Television. Samuel Lopez, also third year BA Television is the cinematographer and editor. 

The entire Bleedin’ Saor project has been co-ordinated by Product Design lecturer, Ruth Cochrane, Dr. Kirsten Macleod and School of Arts and Creative Industries’ placements co-ordinator, Lindsay Morgan. 

Bleedin' Saor in Uganda...


Director Cosima de los Arcos said: “Coming to Uganda allowed us to experience another dimension of period poverty. The methods of fighting the stigma, raising awareness and increasing access to feminine products whilst empowering women has taught us how to develop and improve our campaign in Scotland. We were inspired by the efforts of so many Ugandan organisations, giving their time and skills to improve the lives of women and girls. Their stories not only enrich our project but inspire us to strive harder in our campaign for global period positivity.”

Lindsay Morgan, School of Arts and Creative Industries’ placements co-ordinator and member of Bleedin’ Saor who was on the trip, said: “Visiting Uganda was a life changing experience for all of us. Over the course of the project, we’ve learned so much about the period positivity movement and we’re really proud that Scotland led the way in providing free products for girls and women in education. The individuals and organisations we met in Uganda were incredible, their dedication to gender equality and the development of sustainable menstrual products is inspirational.”

The Ugandan trip was made possible by a number of funding streams including Scottish Government funding sourced through Edinburgh Napier’s Environmental Sustainability Team, Santander Mobility Funding, Edinburgh Napier’s Teaching Fellowship Scheme, a donation from the University’s School Support Services and through Bleedin’ Saor’s own fundraising. 

A proportion of the funds raised will be used for production and distribution of the finished documentary. 

More information on Bleedin’ Saor can be found here.