A Shift from Shame to Empowerment- Menstruation and Girls Education

EPAMBA COMFOT TUWA
Posted July 18, 2016 from Cameroon
Re-Usable Pads
Breaking the Silence of Menstruation-Its our human Rights and needs to be respected.We did not choose to menstruate,its a precious gift from God.# Free Re-Usable pads for all girls and women in Rural Communities,prisons,school,disability centers and prison.Join the campaign Now!Donate to support this Call to Action

Women’s Rights Movement on Menstruation Hygiene and Re-Usable Pads.

First Lady Michelle Obama during the Let Girls Learncampaign on Nov 2, 2015 said “Scholarships, bathrooms, and safe transportation investment on girls education will not go so far if societies still view menstruation as shameful and shun menstruating girls.”

On any given day, more than 800 million women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 are menstruating worldwide. This precious biological process (menstruation) that brings life is an ignored human rights issue for women around the world.

What is the future of Africa if menstruation is not liberated and it’s seen as a cultural taboo which cannot be spoken about openly? I think every one of us is not liberated.

It gives me a great pleasure to talk about something i’m so passionate and fighting for ; Let Girls Learn and menstrual hygiene management. My passion was derived from my experience struggling through life to get an education. I missed school four days every month because of a lack of information on menstruation and sanitary pads. Today, I am here to talk about menstrual hygiene management, re-usable pads, and menstruation as women’s human right, which is still a barrier to Girls education, sexual reproductive health and gender equality in developing countries.

Cultural taboos and myths prevented me to be informed on menstruation until it happened to me–It made me scared, embarrassed and I missed school.

Menstruation issues are non-issues or neglected. We don’t want to recognize the fact that menstruation matters to everyone. It matters to boys and men, too. It is an African problem.

Presently, 82% of adolescent girls and women living in developing countries are practicing menstrual hygiene management un-hygienically due to lack of awareness and economic hindrance to afford sanitary pads. So, they end up using papers, rags, mattress stuffings and other unhygienic materials which have a negative impact on their sexual reproductive health and increase school absenteeism and consequently result in school drop-outs.

To solve this problem, we carried out menstrual hygiene management campaigns, set up clubs in schools, prisons, disability centers and rural communities where adolescent girls, women and boys get knowledge on practical issues on menstruation and their roles to break the silence on menstruation.

We collect used cloths from communities, treat and up-cycle, and train over 20 girls and boys from different communities on BeSafe handmade re-usable eco-pads .

Our Way forward: After the YALI program at University of Delaware, we wish to establish 2 re-usable pad-making workshops from local materials in rural communities, train women groups with entrepreneurial skills on re-usable pads and menstrual hygiene at local levels to assure hygienic menstrual hygiene practices in an affordable and sustainable way.

Our Challenge: Lack of funds to finance re-usable pad workshops. One re-usable pad workshop costs $2,000. This will empower over 1,500 girls and women in 1 year. Reduce school absenteeism of girl students, improve girls education.

Your support can make a difference.

Read the full blog here.

Comments 2

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helen.ng
Jul 19, 2016
Jul 19, 2016

It's so great to hear about this initiative and its plans for the future to help every girl move forward in their educational pathways. What's even better is that I was able to feel the great magnitude of enthusiasm and passion that I know will be put into this movement. I look forward to hearing more about your future endeavours!

EPAMBA COMFOT TUWA
Jul 19, 2016
Jul 19, 2016

Hello, Helen thank s for your inspiring comment.For the past years, we have raised campaign awareness to school student,women focus groups on menstrual hygiene management.organised culture events Which brought local leaders,men and communities to break silence of menstruation in Rural communities.We have trained 30 girls and women on hand made sanitary pads.our future plans is to carryout intensive awareness raising along with the entrepreneurship skills on BeSafe Re usable Eco pads to women groups in low income communities,prisons,and these trained women groups will be able to run sanitary pads workshops at local levels which assures hygienic menstrual hygiene management in affordable cost.network with other organisations nationally and internationally To create an environment where African women and girls won't hesitate to talk about their rights and dignity to better menstrual hygiene management. develop policy and strategies guides on MHM , where boys ,men support girls and women in any way for achieving menstrual hygiene reproductive health care.