Innovative initiative to improve education for african girls: the Solar Smart Bag

The Solar Smart Bag, made from recycled materials, is solar-powered waterproof and comes with pads and a solar panel to charge a lamp to allow girls to read and study at night

Jamila Mayanja, an entrepreneur from Uganda, has developed an innovative initiative to enhance education and the quality of life for African girls: the Solar Smart Bag. This waterproof, solar-powered bag is made from recycled materials and contains several useful tools to help girls stay in school.

Each bag is equipped with a solar panel to charge a lamp, reusable sanitary pads, an informational booklet on menstrual hygiene, and a sewing kit. The initiative has already distributed thousands of bags, and Mayanja ambitiously aims to reach one million girls across East Africa.

The Solar Smart Bag not only provides essential resources for menstrual management but also offers a light source for reading and studying at night, significantly improving the educational opportunities for girls.

Mayanja wins the 2023 Leadership Impact Award

Mayanja is the founder of Smart Girls Uganda, an organization dedicated to providing practical and professional skills to young women. Through the “Girls with Tools Skilling” program, the organization has trained over 300 women in traditionally male-dominated technical professions, such as electrical and mechanical engineering.

Mayanja’s contributions have been internationally recognized with the 2023 Leadership Impact Award, a prize given to members of the Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni Network who have made significant impacts in their communities. An alumna of the U.S. government’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Mayanja was selected from hundreds of candidates for her outstanding work with Smart Girls Uganda.

UNFPA supports production and distribution

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has supported the production and distribution of these bags, assisting both refugee girls and those in host communities. The initiative has had a significant impact, allowing thousands of girls to continue their education without embarrassment or difficulty during their menstrual periods.

Thanks to these bags, girls can attend school more regularly, feeling secure and supported. Jamila Mayanja and her team at Smart Girls Uganda are redefining menstrual management and access to education for young women in Africa, offering sustainable and innovative solutions that enhance their daily lives.

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