#HappyFlow Monday: If you were given an opportunity to speak about menstrual health management in front of policy makers, what would your message be?

This #HappyFlow Monday, we asked network members the question:

"If you were given an opportunity to speak about menstrual health management in front of policy makers, what would your message be?"

  Miguel Jambo - Mozambique

The time is now for free provision of menstrual hygiene. We demand the African governments to live to their promises of ESA commitments and the Maputo Plan of Action.

Rights to menstrual hygiene should be part of the collective agenda and its promotion, dissemination and defense in all spheres and sectors should be prioritized. Menstrual hygiene rights should be known and defended by all including the establishment of sensitive and friendly public spaces for menstrual hygiene management without discrimination.

  Natasha Bupe Seketa - Zambia

There should be an increase in the realization that there exists a strong link between the promotion of girl child education and menstrual hygiene.

Lack of access to clean and safe water in most schools in Africa has hindered girls from attending class during menstruation resulting in loss of school days. This entails that access to clean and safe water and satisfactory infrastructure is key in achieving a good menstrual hygiene management for girls.  Therefore,  as policy makers invest in policies that call for the establishment of schools, they must also ensure that these schools are endowed with clean and safe water as well as satisfactory infrastructure that will enable girls to confidently attend school even during menstruation. This in its sense is promoting education for the girl child.

  Rainford Kainga - Malawi

Menstruation is not a taboo. There is nothing shameful or sinful about this natural and normal biological phenomenon. Sadly, most cultures somewhat demonize menstruation thereby creating a sense of shame and guilt in menstruating girls/women. As a result, the girls/women choose to hide their menstrual issues knowing that no one else will be interested to hear about their "woman" problems.

It is high time societies stopped shrouding menstruation issues in secrecy and/or ambiguity. Talking openly about menstruation will help debunk the numerous misconceptions that promote skewed perception of menstruation. It would also free up girls and women who, instead of demanding the services they rightly deserve, choose to suffer in silence.

But perhaps most importantly, the open talk would help everybody realize that menstrual hygiene is a societal issue (not a woman's problem); and that it is everybody's responsibility to promote menstrual hygiene.

  Audrey Chabveka - Zimbabwe

Despite having the rights to Information and awareness about menstruation, adequate water and safe spaces and the ability to dispose of sanitary products cleanly and privately, all these are in vein if we do not collectively address the socio-cultural and economic burdens that underpin menstruation. Policies should support the efforts that are being made to change harmful cultural norms and practices that stigmatize menstruation by capacitating the communities and penalizing the offenders. Menstruation is not a choice therefore sanitary ware should be made free and accessible for all just as condoms are made free and available to all. Humanitarian emergency responses should prioritize sanitary ware as this is where most women and girls are stripped off of their dignity and right to health,water and sanitation.

  Hamza Businge - Uganda

Menstrual Hygiene rights are human rights. Its not right for state to keep a blind eye and deaf ear on such issues of Menstruation that affect ever person as if they are guaranteed by the state.

We have recognized fundamental human rights right from the start and policy makers should take menstrual hygiene rights as fadamental as any other rights not just less than equal.

Every girl, woman and better to any other person undergoing the natural process of Menstruation, deserve access to proper health and Hygiene products and its the responsibility of state to provide these.

For starters, We urge policy makers to recognise these right and pass policies that relate to them efficiently and effectively.

#PassthePolicy  #freesanitarywear in Africa