Here is our report for the month of April to June 2022. For a period of 4 months, we at Femme International have been able to carry out its activity effectively, especially in advocating for safe menstruation and sexual reproductive health for girls and boys for achieving equal access to quality education.
We are always grateful and appreciate your support and advocacy for Femme International. It is from support like yours we keep thriving and serving the community towards achieving the sustainable development goals!!!
Menstrual health is an important determinant and outcome of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Yet, until recently menstrual health has largely been overlooked by the international and local community. Studies have shown how several factors prevent girls and women and people who menstruate from accessing the right and adequate pieces of information, opportunities, services, and even resources.
Femme International through Twaweza program continues to provide an overview of the importance of Menstrual Health and Sexual Reproductive Health rights to girls and boys and this quarter we focused on the following objectives:
- Deliver the Sexual Reproductive Health Right education focusing more on menstruation
- Have a safe place with both boys and girls where they can talk freely about menstruation, sexual reproductive health issues, and relationship
- To reach both boys and girls and puberty
We keep spreading the culture of building up a reliable platform where menstruators and the young generation of boys and girls can feel free to express their fear and misconceptions, as well as challenging the community cultural setting to address stigma, taboo, and myth surrounding menstruation. This has slowly paved the way for accessibility and availability of menstrual health information and products to manage the period. We focused on the 15-18 age group as these are the people affected so much by teenage pregnancy, peer pressure, and sexually transmitted diseases, and all of these are somehow caused or related to menstruation and lack of proper management of menstruation.
The mode of education was discussion in which both boys and girls were divided in groups to discuss menstruation and sexual reproductive health challenges in the community and schools, through the discussion, some questions were raised ie, is it wrong to accept favors from men especially when they are buying you a menstrual product or giving you money, what are the alternatives of managing menstruation for those girls who can't totally access menstrual products because they lack money to buy them and to avoid engaging in sex for pads and lastly if we are sisters and we have one menstrual cup why can't we share?
As we continue engaging boys and men in the conversation regarding menstrual health management, the reality is we still have a very long way to go to promote equality and quality education for all, because menstruation is costly and a cost that has never been brought to light. Investing in menstrual health is still a challenge following the cultural norms and social and economic status of the community.
Advocating for safe menstrual health and sexual gender-based violence in Schools through school clubs
Engaging students as part of the community to prevent violence against women and children is an essential part of the advocacy Femme carried throughout the quarter. Puberty and menstruation can be confusing times for adolescents, particularly if they have no one to speak to at home or at school about the changes they are experiencing, and challenging for girls in rural areas where stigma and social norms mean that this healthy biological process can restrict their daily activities and lead to isolation and abuse. As we continue in these school club sessions on MHM, we discovered for many of these young girls and boys this is the first time they’ve ever heard and been able to discuss openly their periods, sexual violence, and asking questions in regards to MHM and gender-based violence. In Kenya especially during this time of the political campaign, Girls and women are becoming venerable to GBV and especially rape, this is because all the state and non-state organs which should be acting towards protecting women and girls are concentrating on political campaigns, through school clubs we have been able to guide and talk to both girls and boys on ways to avoid and protect themselves through diplomats for health in the resilient community and changed Amani CBO
What happens if menstruation cannot be managed properly could lead to high risks of infections or even worse accelerate to sexual violence as a result of some girls and women do not have access to menstrual products at all. It can also exacerbate existing vulnerabilities, pushing women and girls closer to dangerous coping mechanisms as such.
We are building, engaging, and a sustaining network of menstrual health players so that they are connected, informed, and thus well-equipped to engage in their daily lives.This quarter we reached out to Jamhuri Primary School and Kiusa Secondary school, located in Moshi, Kilimanjaro region.From Jamhuri primary school we have 84 students (43M, 41F) in 5th, 6th, and 7th classes,as well as in Kiusa secondary school we have 97 students (56M, 41F) all in the form one class and lastly, we reached to 40 out of school boys and girls in Kenya (25F, 15M). The most covered topic was period poverty and menstrual health management along with an emphasis on sexual gender-based violence against children and women and encouraging students to report violent acts without fear.
Commemoration of International Menstrual Hygiene Day (MHD)
On Saturday, 28th May International Menstrual Hygiene Day hundreds of women, young, men, and boys flocked to the streets in Kilimanjaro matching for the emphasis on women's rights and the importance of This is big to us as it stands a part of knowledge sharing, as we are driven to increase the collective awareness of menstruation and menstrual health and its core connection to female health, and stop at nothing to integrate it where we can.
Towards Menstrual Hygiene Day, Femme International in collaboration with other partners including the government stakeholders was able to provide education on safe menstruation in 9 primary and secondary schools also Jamuhuri and Kiusa primary schools were visited by facilitators from different organizations that offer education on menstrual health, therefore, it was an opportunity for them to learn more about menstruation from other experts.
Among other topics that came up during this quarter was the crime rate among teenagers, depression and mental health, and drug abuse.
- Some women or girls who have experienced sexual violence may find it difficult to open up and beyond personal struggle, it might be socially and culturally challenging to discuss such topics as sexual gender-based violence
1. To increase the number of school clubs, especially in areas that have been shown to have many victims of sexual violence
2. Increasingly providing education on menstrual health and sexual violence to parents, teachers, and other people in the community
3. Human rights education should be provided to students, teachers, parents, and community members
Creating awareness on Menstruation and sexual reproductive health by reaching more school going and out of school girls and boys remains our passionate goal and with your continued support, we believe in an achievement. Attachments: