Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women

by Brighter Communities Worldwide
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Invest in Menstrual Health for girls and women
Menstruation bracelet - a global symbol
Menstruation bracelet - a global symbol

In our last report to you May, we were getting ready to celebrate Menstrual Hygiene Day. The theme of the event this year was ‘to educate, eradicate stigma and end period poverty’.  To comply with COVID-19 restrictions and reach as many communities as possible we spread our programme activities and celebrations across the month of May.   Participants included men, women, girls and boys.  The programme was very interactive and included different activities all geared towards offering education and breaking the silence on menstrual health issues. A total of 269 people attended 19 workshops. The actual day itself was celebrated on Friday 28th May in Ndarugu, Kipkelion East Sub-County.

This programme continues throughout the year and the content of our workshops includes 6 sessions – Growth and body changes – learning about puberty; Reproductive health – learning about the menstrual cycle, reproductive health systems and providing a safe space for participants to discuss related issues; Reusable sanitary kits – demonstration of reusable pads and how to make them using locally available materials; Challenges to menstrual health management – challenges faced by women and girls include the expense of buying sanitary towels for families already struggling with finances, lack of emotional support and understanding, lack of access to water, soap, pads, missing out on school and work every month and taboos within families and the communities around menstruation which cause further isolation and lack of support; Bracelet making - the menstruation bracelet is a global symbol for menstruation and a teaching tool with 28 sections made of beads or card to signify the menstrual cycle and Games and Sports – included to break barriers and highlight that periods shouldn’t inhibit women and girls in what they can do during their periods once they have the knowledge and support to manage them.

Maria Kidney is a founding member of Brighter Communities Worldwide and has been in Kenya throughout the pandemic.  Reflecting on the month’s activities Maria says – “I was privileged to be part of several of the sessions and to witness the transformation that this programme is having across communities.  Women and girls arrive very shy, and hardly looking at each other; once we run the workshops and sessions you see the change coming – they share with each other, they learn from each other but most of all they realise that they are not alone – there are others who are struggling in the same way; there is hope – and I guess that is the key!  There must be hope!     Imagine reaching your 50s and 60s and not fully understanding your own reproductive health; not having a say in the use of your body; not realising so many things?  It is hard to fathom but this truly is the reality where we work.  Women and girls and men and boys – lack the basic knowledge and understanding of sexual and reproductive health, it is a taboo topic which is not spoken about”.

Speaking about the impact of Covid-19, Maria says “The demand from across communities for our sexual and reproductive health programme is massive.  I think we are truly seeing the devastating impacts on women and girls in the last months.  Our outreach clinics are full of teenage mums; the rising poverty and hardship is very visible and a recent report published outlines how over 400,000 school children did not return to school in Kenya. Reports of 260,000 teenage pregnancies are mind blowing, and so the need to continue this menstrual health/sexual reproductive health programme across communities is huge”.

Thank you so much for the part you play in supporting this programme and changing the lives of so many communities across Kericho county.

Exploring how the body changes in puberty
Exploring how the body changes in puberty
Making reusable sanitary pads from old t-shirts
Making reusable sanitary pads from old t-shirts
Games breaking down barriers
Games breaking down barriers
Learning about the reproductive system
Learning about the reproductive system
Global solidarity with menstruation bracelets
Global solidarity with menstruation bracelets

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Thank you for supporting our Invest in girls and Women programme.

We had an extremely busy International Women's Day #IWD2021. In fact, due to COVID 19 restrictions, it really became International Women's month. Traditionally International Women's Day is a huge event and celebration in Kericho County, Kenya. Villages come together and hundreds of women sing, dance, and celebrate. This year, however, smaller groups met, socially distanced and masked, to discuss the real challenges facing women today in the region. More than 416 men and women met in 16 Community units. It opened up a dialogue of what really affects gender equality and women in the community, the daily stigma they face, their missed opportunism, and how it affects their own self-esteem. Choosing to challenge the norms of society. It created a safe space for these discussions to take place. It allowed women and girls to face these challenges and support one another, space for community leaders to listen and understand. Going forward to develop ways within their Communities to #ChoosetoChallenge. Many groups took place all over the region, following on from the discussions the women and girls still found the energy to dance and sing to celebrate their aspirations.

 

Our work in Schools continues, with regular deliveries of materials to provide handwashing facilities, Since the beginning of the year we have delivered 624 boxes of soap, 624 100 Ltr water tanks, buckets and taps for handwashing to ensure the safety of all children in their schools. We've delivered posters and banners to 312 schools across the region.

 

The month of May is Menstrual Hygiene month and culminates with Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28th. Young girls and Women face huge challenges. Periods don't stop for pandemics. There are a lot of myths and taboos surrounding menstruation, with many young girls not knowing what is happening to their bodies when their periods start. There is little knowledge of sexual health. There is limited access to sanitary pads. Frequently this means girls miss school every month, they fall behind in their education, and then drop out. Without Education, it is extremely difficult to break the poverty cycle. This month will see Brighter Communities Worldwide supporting girls in schools through providing information, talks, reusable sanitary pads, and menstrual hygiene through latrines washrooms, soap, and water. We will also participate in #MHD2021 by making menstrual bracelets. In the community too, due to Covid 19 regulations, we no longer hold large meetings but instead, our staff trained community volunteers as Menstrual Hygiene Ambassadors who go out into the community and work with small groups of both men and women. Girls staying in school will go some way to address gender equality. For more information visit our project. Supporting women supports the whole Community.

Participant making the menstruation braclet
Participant making the menstruation braclet
Participants at menstrual health workshop
Participants at menstrual health workshop
Women learning about the menstrual cycle
Women learning about the menstrual cycle
Participant making the menstruation braclet
Participant making the menstruation braclet
"It's time for change"
"It's time for change"
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Organization Information

Brighter Communities Worldwide

Location: Midleton, Cork - Ireland
Website:
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Twitter: @4abrighterworld
Project Leader:
Maria Kidney
Midleton, Cork Ireland
$10,077 raised of $24,274 goal
 
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