Happy Flow Monday – How are you #TransformingEducation with regard to Menstrual Hygiene?

For International Youth Day, we asked movement builders how they are #TransformingEducation with regard to menstrual hygiene.

Margaret Sapazeka – Malawi

Adolescent girls need the support of their governments to provide adequate infrastructure, access to affordable sanitary products, and gender equity for them to manage their periods.

Progress is beginning: Kenya now provides free sanitary pads to girls in education, and Ethiopia has established menstrual hygiene management clubs in schools.  In these and other countries, such as India and Pakistan, change is happening because of influential Civil Society Organizations like us join hands advocating for transforming education to bring norms that support needs of menstruating girls and women.

Community leaders, health workers, and teachers are perfectly positioned to negate menstrual stigma, and parents and wider family members need to be educated about their cultural traditions and superstitions, which might be unintentionally causing harm to women and girls. But to establish sustainable social change, education is key.

All girls and boys must be educated about menstruation and reproductive health to empower them to talk comfortably and freely about periods and sexual health.

We applaud the increasing efforts worldwide to empower, educate, and engage country leaders, communities, families, and adolescent girls and boys about menstruation, and to highlight the right of women and girls to hygienically manage their periods. Enormous advances have been made in global child and adolescent health, maternal health, and women’s rights. Yet the needs of the 300 million women and girls menstruating on any given day remain buried low on the global health agenda, simply because many are too embarrassed for frank discussions about menstruation

#HappyFlowMonday

#TransformingEducation

#InternationalYouthDay

Nester Gombakomba – Zimbabwe

Menstrual health is very important to the life of every woman, be it the elderly, young women or adolescent girls. Yet people have been miss informed about their menstrual health hence there has been a lot of stigmatisation, lots of myths being told and also people have been made to believe it a taboo to talk about these issues freely and openly. I believe the time is now in which our African societies are educated more on menstrual health from the young to the old, religious and traditional leaders, the decision makers, the law makers to the top government officials; so that everyone will be well informed on the issues of menstrual health and to transform their mind set. Also, it is important that boys be sensitized about menstrual health as well so as to empower them and enrich them with a mindset that accepts girls as they are from a very early age. As a result Create safe spaces for girls and a platform for dialogue for young boys to understand that menstruation is not a curse and neither is it something a girl should be discriminated for. Lastly, the young women, the adolescent girls and the parents should also be educated on the good hygiene practices during and after their menstrual cycle. This helps dealing with stigmatisation and discrimination of menstrual health issues that we have been fighting against, and helps towards achieving an Africa that is healthy, sexy, equal and free through transformative education.

#HappyflowMonday

#InternationalYouthDay

#TransformingEducation

  Mujilowe Ndhlovu – Zambia

I am delighted to work with Children in Action Zambia a youth led organization and other partnered stakeholders which focus mainly on issues affecting Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) such as Education, Empowerment as well as Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). This year’s theme brings to the fore the importance of self-reliance and sustainability through initiatives instead of fully depending on government’s provision. We do acknowledge the valued efforts by government in providing education for all but this does not mean all barriers to accessing formal and quality education do not exist. For instance, PWDs in this case, the youth, fail to access education due to distance constraints.

However, this year’s theme is so uplifting in that it is not all the work to be done by providers but the majority of the part to be done by the target groups themselves. It is quite encouraging to see the efforts taken by persons with disabilities towards education, self-empowerment as well as what efforts/initiatives are being put in place to enable full access to SRHR services. In my community, youths with disabilities face quite a number of challenges such as limited access to formal employment all stemming from barriers to special education.

As a youth led organization, several lobbying and advocacy activities are being undertaken by the youths themselves in order to meet some basic needs such as free provision of sanitary pads, breaking communication barriers in accessing quality SRHR services in cases of the youths with hearing impairments, full access to family planning methods etc. We are glad to celebrate and be a part of this year’s international youth day commemoration because we are assured our efforts ae not only relevant but are also being recognised and we believe that more can be done as there is still room for improvement. Together we can, leaving no one behind.

#HappyFlowMonday

#TransformingEducation

#InternationalYouthDay

  Busiku Handema – Zambia

With the 2019 theme for International Youth Day “Transforming Education” it’s very important to take a look at how we are using education to change behavior, attitude, and systems at every stage to break the silence around Menstrual Hygiene Management. The need to consider who are we targeting, how knowledgeable are they, are they being open, the existing gaps, what concerns are we reaching to our readers, social media platforms and decision makers to address Menstrual Hygiene Management .Further the need to be creative in our approach to Menstrual Hygiene Management  capturing and knowledge sharing. By taking note from the above we will be able to get the right knowledge, in the right place at the right time to influence issues surrounding Menstrual Hygiene Management.

#HappyFlowMonday

#TransformingEducation

#InternationalYouthDay