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Caption:Nowana, 45, fills a pouch with powdered cow patties that she uses during her period. ' Nowana, 45, uses powdered cow patties in a pouch used during menstruation, 'I would prefer pads to cow patties if I had a choice. They are easy and already made, they are disposable and don’t require a lengthy process like the one I go through when using cow patties.' Mongu District, Zambia, August 2018.
Credit:WaterAid/ Chileshe Chanda
Usage Rights:(1) Images may be used for all purposes, globally, in perpetuity. Images may be used by third parties.
Size:12.34MB
5304 x 7952px
Key Information:Location: Nambeya Village, Mongu District, Zambia
Local Partner : N/A
Project Status: N/A
Interview:Pull out quote:
"I would prefer pads to cow patties if I had a choice. They are easy and already made, they are disposable and don’t require a lengthy process like the one I go through when using cow patties."

Interviewee:

Nowana, 45

Interview:

"I have lived in this village continuously for the past 19 years now. I am married here and I have seven children. Our main occupation is farming. We grow rice and cassava.

I mainly use cow patties to manage my periods, occasionally I use a piece cut from an old blanket. I only use a blanket if am home and not intending to go anywhere. But the cow patties I use at any time whether I am just home or I am travelling to different places.

I don’t like using a piece of blanket because it gets soaked quickly compared to the cow patties. The other reason is that it is not easy to wash off all the blood from the blanket and many times I end up just disposing it.

I pick cow patties from the kraal and other times I just walk about in the fields where we cultivate and pick the cow patties as dropped by cattle while grazing. I pick the dry cow dung and pound it into powder using a mortal. After making the powder I then pack it into a pouch and it will be ready to use in managing my period.

The dry cow patties do not have a smell and no one would notice that there is something I am putting on of this sort. This is why we have been able to use this method for a long time.

Our parents taught us about the use of cow patties a long time ago before we even heard about pads. I was shown this method by my grandmother and I have been using it since that time.

Money is scarce and I cannot afford to buy pads, they are expensive and that’s why I use this method. I have children who are of age who also need pads and if you put all of us together, you will agree that it’s a lot of money that will be required and we cannot afford that.

My daughters have been shown the same method; we have passed this onto them because it is easy, cheap and readily available.

I feel just fine to use the cow patties in managing my periods so far, but I cant stop thinking about pads since I know about them and cannot just have them.

In my entire life of using cow patties, I have not seen anything worrying or dangerous. They are fine and harmless as far as I know. People started using them from a long time ago.

There is not task I fail to do when am on period. I manage to do all the work as expected of me with or without periods.

I would prefer pads to cow patties if I had a choice. They are easy and already made, they are disposable and don’t require a lengthy process like the one I go through when using cow patties.

Nowadays whenever I use cow patties to manage my periods, the feeling of lack is in my heart since I know that something better exits."

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