Menstrual Health Rights Advocates meet at the #HappyFlow Symposium

To mark International Menstrual Hygiene Day on 28 May, the Sex Rights Africa Network held a Happy Flow symposium in Johannesburg, South Africa. The symposium aimed to bust the myths around menstruation, and brought together students, leaders, and advocates to celebrate and discuss menstrual health matters. Learn more about the bloody conversation below!

Menstrual hygiene management has a huge impact on the lives on people who menstruate. It is estimated that a person will actively be menstruating for an average of 7 years during their lifetime, which means that menstrual hygiene management is incredibly important. Lack of education, materials and facilities have been shown to lead to negative outcomes for people who menstruate – those who are unable to adequately manage their menstrual health drop out of school or miss work, or risk their reproductive health by using unsanitary methods to manage their menstrual flow. Stigma and taboos force issues of menstrual hygiene into the background, and create an atmosphere of shame where menstruation is concerned.

Listen to AFSA's advocacy manager, Deborah Ewing, chat to SAfm about Menstrual Hygiene Day:

Watch the day's events via the live feed of the Welcome and opening ceremony.

We'd like to thank everyone who contributed to the Happy Flow Monday Challenge! Check out the video below to see your contribution.

Her Royal Highness, Princess Sekhothali Seeiso of the Royal House of Lesotho, gave an introduction to her work around combating Female Genital Mutilation, and around her experiences advocating for Menstrual Health Management. "Every girl deserves to live in the best possible environment that we can provide."

Nyararai Magudu shared a video on his work obtaining signatures for the Menstrual Hygiene Petition in Mozambique after the destruction wrought by cyclone Idai. He mentioned that aid plans for those affected by the cyclone often did not consider menstrual hygiene. You can watch his video presentation here.

Patricia Kajumba spoke about counteracting the stigma which remains around menstrual health, the silence which surrounds it, and the implications of speaking out. She commented that she would likely be kicked out of parliament in Uganda for bringing up Menstrual Hygiene because it is still such a taboo in Uganda. She stated that there is a need for the movement to become stronger so that we are more easily able to convince leaders and decision makers that this is an important issue for all people.

You can see their presentations in the feed below.

The panel of Menstruators, Activists and Policy makers discussed Making Menstrual Health Rights real, and how we need to have uncomfortable conversations with policy makers and those in positions of leadership in order to bust myths and to break stigma and taboos. Watch the video feed below.

Attendees completed a Menstrual Hygiene quiz and walked away with some awesome spot prizes.

Tambu Muzenda shared a video on the Silence on Menstruation. Watch it below!

Sign the petition for free sanitary wear for all who need it!