Through working with schools in Burkina Faso, BARKA recognized a need to address girls' menstrual health due to the lack of resources, proper information, affordable products and the stigmatization that surrounds this taboo topic. What began right here on Global Giving as part of the 2017 Girl Fund Campaign, has since sensitized and benefited over 6500 girls, boys, teachers and parents. It has now evolved into the nation's 1st major project to distribute menstrual cups to women and girls.
Burkina Faso is among the least developed nations in the world. Only 68% of the country has access to water, and only 12% has access to sanitation. Menstruation is itself a very taboo subject, in a country context where 70% of girls have experienced some form of genital mutilation or cutting. Girls at school lack resources and information to be able to manage their menstrual cycle appropriately . The result is humiliation, isolation, unwanted pregnancies, and ultimately, dropping out of school.
The amazing thing about this problem is that it is completely preventable. The key is to bring this taboo topic into the light of day to raise awareness and "sensitize" people on this important theme. By providing menstrual cups and comprehensive education about menstrual health and sexual and reproductive health and rights, we will alleviate the "period poverty" to which most women in Burkina Faso are subjected.
The ultimate long term impact of this pilot project is to lay the groundwork for national menstrual cup programming and more comprehensive menstrual health education throughout Burkina Faso society.