#HappyFlow – join the movement for menstrual health rights

May 28 is International Menstrual Hygiene Day – a day to promote access to sanitary wear, access to water and sanitation and education, and to fight stigma.

It’s a day to celebrate the right to equality, dignity and good health.

To mark this day, the Sex Rights Africa Network has an exciting programme of campaigns and activities linked to #HappyFlow.

All over the African continent, people miss school and work when they have a period because they don’t have access to sanitary wear. They risk infection from using newspaper, leaves, rags and other materials. They risk violence, exploitation, unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections when they engage in sexual relationships to raise money for pads.

The baseless taboos and myths associated with menstruation cause stigma, stress, shame and embarrassment. This damages the self-esteem and well-being of millions of people who menstruate – in Africa and elsewhere.

It’s time for this to stop. Let’s support #HappyFlow for everyone who menstruates.

Launching the HappyFlow Africa app  

Sex Rights Africa Network members Gateway Health Institute (GHI), the AIDS Foundation of South Africa (AFSA) and Pepeta Africa have launched a web app dedicated to menstrual health rights. The app can be accessed at https://happyflow.africa

Enter and win – HappyFlow.Africa quiz

Anyone who has the app can enter the HappyFlow.Africa quiz. This is a cellphone-based quiz to test knowledge of just about everything to do with periods. The quiz is open to teams and individuals, and there are great prizes to be won. Those who reach the semi-finals will have chance to go to Johannesburg for the live final round.

Sign the HappyFlow petition

The Sex Rights Africa Network petition is calling for free sanitary wear for everyone who needs it. Let’s raise our collective voices against having to pay to experience a dignified and healthy period. Sign the petition at http://bit.ly/2On6jzy.

The petition is calling on members of the African Union Commission, the East African Legislative Assembly, and the SADC Parliamentary Forum to:

  • Publicly pledge support for free sanitary wear for everyone who needs it.
  • Immediately end taxation on sanitary products
  • Provide free, quality sanitary wear in all schools, tertiary institutions, workplaces, restrooms and public buildings (wherever free condoms are available!)
  • Ensure access to hygienic disposal facilities, clean water and sanitation
  • Procure quality sanitary wear only from socially and environmentally responsible companies
  • Create opportunities for local communities to become partners in the production and sale of quality sanitary wear, contributing to skills development and creating work opportunities
  • Invest in the development of local, economically and environmentally sustainable products

Advocating for free sanitary wear for all is not about charity, it is about accountability. Leaders have made commitments to ensuring the health and well-being of women, girls, and all people who menstruate – now is the time for them to make good on their commitments. Governments have set targets to reach the Sustainable Development Goals, but need to allocate resources to meet the targets, implement programmes, laws and other methods to achieve them – now is the time to hold governments to account.

This petition is a contribution to ongoing efforts at local, national, regional and international level to make menstrual health rights and all sexual and reproductive health rights real for everyone.

Sign the petition at: http://bit.ly/2On6jzy

Take the quiz at: https://happyflow.africa

/ENDS


Download the press statement here and share with your networks!

For more information, infographics and images, contact abbeyhudson@aids.org.za

More information on the Sex Rights Africa Network:

The Sex Rights Africa Network is a regional networking hub to share evidence and strengthen action to realise sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) for all in Southern Africa and globally.