(Breaking the silence on menstruation, take action so as to keep girls in schools)
The aim of our project is not only to popularize Menstrual Hygiene Day (MHD], breaking the silence attached to menstruation but also to build awareness about good Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM). Further, it intends on giving MHM greater visibility and prioritizes solutions. Interventions such as the provision of sanitary products, education around puberty, and painless menstrual periods will increase girls’ attendance at schools (senior author Paul Montgomery of Oxford University’s Center). Also. to pass on messages which will end the stigma against menstruation in our communities. Sensitization to policymakers and politicians to realize that feminine hygiene products deserve more credits and encourage stakeholders to proactively support school girls and women from low income to access and afford menstrual hygiene services and keep on schooling. Due to the unoriotization of various programs in the country and, traditionally regarded as a taboo which is attached to many myths, misconceptions and negative cultural attitudes, MHM has persistently overlooked and neglected not only by sensitive programs such as WASH, health, education and by protection programs but also is practiced accordance to cultural, social and economic status.
This leads to most of girls while they are in schools to face a number of challenges which are not limited to stigma attached to menstruation, receive poor preparations before and during puberty, inadequate water to clean and wash up during their period, lack of materials for managing menstrual hygiene during menstruation, absence of private space and washrooms, inappropriate facilities for disposal of used materials, physical and psychological pains due to lack of menstrual pain killer programs. Hence most of them miss classes during their period while some of them drop out completely due to lack of sanitary pads. There is a need for girls and women to team up through AFYAPLUS Organization to raise voices in order to influence the removal of sales tax on feminine hygiene products so that women including girls can afford to get sanitary pads for their menstruation which will help to keep girls in schools. Hence this will guarantee the rights of girls and females to a decent life and education.
Since 2018 through collaboration with local government authorities, local organizations and other stakeholders we managed to provide menstrual hygiene management education to 57 schools both secondary and primary in the Iringa region also through fundraising we collected 280 boxes of sanitary pads (11packets each with 8 pads) which were distributed to different schools and reach more than 20000 girls as beneficiaries of disposable pads, also we started producing reusable sanitary pads which can be used for more than one year so that to help girls especial who come from poor families to stay in school during their menstruation period, we have been able to produce and distribute 650 packets (of 3 pads each) to 650 girls, for that case we total managed to distribute 20650 sanitary pads both disposable and reusable with the aim of Keeping girls in school, leads to increased confidence and better academic performance