Maintaining #HappyFlow at the ACSHR Youth Pre-conference

The Youth Pre-conference of the 9th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights kicks off today in Nairobi, Kenya, at the Kenyatta International Convention Center. Delegates from all over the continent joined the conversation on SRHR for all!

We asked delegates what they felt was important in the fight for Menstrual Health for all, and this is what they shared:

Dr Uwem Esiet

Every girl should be made aware – long before they menstruate or start to menstruate – what menstruation is all about and be given the necessary support to ensure that they have mental and menstrual hygiene wellness. No girl should, on account of her menstrual health, lose one day of schooling and no girl on account of being on her menstruation should be discriminated against or stigmatised. Rather, I celebrate and congratulate every menstruating girl on the continent of Africa, and indeed all over the world.

Jane Godia

Menstrual hygiene is part of a woman’s whole being, and girls must be provided with sanitary pads to help them manage their menstruation in a healthy manner. These should be provided for free, just the way condoms are provided for free. In relation to the conference and the theme, women and girls from informal settlements do not have access to proper menstrual hygiene products and national budgets of countries must take this into consideration, where they will need not only sanitary pads – they must be provided with panties and they must be provided with soap and water.

Grace Wanjiru

I am Grace Wanjiru from Alfajiri Network – we use art for Health, SRH and mental health. So far in Kenya there has been a bit of advocacy happening on menstrual health, however we are yet to get to the policy makers and the accountability side of it. But within the communities Alfajiri has been doing a lot, for example we use men’s inclusion in menstrual hygiene because the only way the girl will be safe and okay is if we bring men into the conversation and make both of them work, as we all have to live together. If that balance in understanding is struck then everything will be fine. The engagement helps them understand the needs and misconceptions, and the right facts about it is a really great role that we as Alfajiri have taken upon ourselves. With time we (Alfajiri) will start engaging policymakers since it has already passed that sanitary towels will be free for all school-going children, but that is yet to be implemented. We’ve had a number of scandals on that end in Kenya and it is such a shame – these are people we call our parents, we would expect them to protect us but they’re not doing it, so hopefully they will be accountable for their actions.

Kijana Mtanashati (On the Left)

Men should get involved in the menstrual health of their spouses and the women and girls that they live with so that their family structure can live in peace and harmony, and also to know your status and live your life. It is quite important for men to be involved daily.

 

Alex Mwangi (On the Right)

I think it’s important for men to be involved and educated about menstrual health because they should know the menstrual cycle because they were born from mothers – they have daughters and they have wives. It’s important to know about the menstrual cycle because when you are sexually active you have to know about the safe days and be aware of your sexual health if you don’t want unplanned pregnancies. They also should know that girls should have pads so that when they are told by their daughters that they need pads they can provide for them because its healthy for them.

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