Debunking Myths around menstrual health
"Thank you! For educating Nigerian girls." Female 15 Kaduna state.
This was a message from an adolescent girl that took part in one of our outreaches.
On the 28th of May we joined in the global commemoration of Menstrual Hygiene Day with the theme "Education - Education about menstruation changes everything". We worked around this theme educating and providing factual information about menstruation. We participated in this global campaign to provide accurate information around menstruation because, we get a lot of questions around menstruation from girls and young women on the MyQuestion Service platform. There are so many myths about menstruation out there and talk around menstruation is seen as a taboo, many adolescent girls and young women have made mistakes that have had serious impact on the sexual and reproductive health.
Even though we have been providing information about menstruation through the MyQ service, we understood that it was an opportunity to do something more. So we carried out social media campaigns on Twitter and Facebook to educate, inform and debunk myths around menstruation.
Myths such as
Menstrual pain will stop when you have sex.
Menstruation will first start when you have sex.
Menstrual blood is bad blood and is dirty.
Just to mention a few myths.
We also partnered with a Faith-Based-Organization (FBO) to provide adolescent girls with information about menstrual health/hygiene and how it relates to their sexual and reproductive health. The girls were drawn from different secondary schools and were about 70 adolescent girls all together. We taught them about menstruation, how to calculate their menstrual cycles and we showed them a video on how to fix and dispose of a menstrual pad properly. Also some myths around menstruation were identified and debunked. The girls were also given the opportunity to ask questions, and we were able to provide them with right answers to their questions.
Some of their questions were
" why is it that a girl will see my period in the first week of a month and she will see it again on the last week of the same month. Is it normal? It happens to me" From a 15 years old female.
We didn’t just tweet, post or visit schools we also were featured on a radio program. On the radio program we talked about menstruation, menstrual hygiene and debunked myths around menstruation. We also advocated for better sanitation in schools, availability of good toilets and water so that girls can feel comfortable in school especially when they are menstruating. By providing better sanitation, girls would be less likely to miss school whenever they are on their periods.
We also seized the opportunity to create awareness for our 3-in1 menstrual health and hygiene app "DIVA" that allows girls to track the menstrual cycle, learn about menstruation and ask questions.
The aim of our activities was to enable girls and young women to feel free to ask questions around menstruation through the free My Q platforms and they did. We received 100 questions and counting.
…And the questions kept coming on the MyQuestion platform
" I am 17years old now I started my period last year when I was 16years old. But my period is not regular it comes sometimes after two months or three months what is the problem?
"I am 13 I haven’t started seen my period what should I do."
"How to take care of yourself when on your period … I am fourteen years old."
"tell me about good hygiene about menstruation" female 15 Abuja
Questions did not only come from girls but boys too
On our facebook page a boy asked "Which day is more likely for woman to get pregnant, during menstruation or after menstruation?"
The girls were happy that we came to their school and they expressed themselves through sms, facebook post and calls
A girl named Deborah posted on our facebook page, she said " Thanks for coming to My school"
SMS received on the Myquestion platform said
"Thanks very much for being able to answer all my questions From a 15year old female in Lagos.
"Thanks I was so worried when my period came twice in a month, now I know" 17 years Female. Her next question was "Can I ask another question on Menstruation"
…and sure she was free to ask more questions.
We are glad that we were able to provide information and counseling services to adolescent girls and young women that is helping them make informed decisions about their menstrual health and their reproductive health as a whole.
These achievements were made possible through your kind donations and we truly appreciate the support that makes it possible to fill the knowledge gap of young people on sexual and reproductive health.
We will continue to help adolescents and young people lead better lives by providing information, services and stop stigma and shame around these issues.
A girl asking a menstrual health question.
Girl taking charge of their menstrual health