Access to Menstrual Products in East Africa

by Femme International
Access to Menstrual Products in East Africa
Access to Menstrual Products in East Africa
Access to Menstrual Products in East Africa
Access to Menstrual Products in East Africa

Project Report | Jan 4, 2024
Break the Barriers: Menstrual Health Workshop for Women in Tanzania and Kenya

By Sia Towo | Country Manager

A group photo after a workshop in Mwanza
A group photo after a workshop in Mwanza

Let us keep breaking the barriers!

The more we talk about menstruation in the news and media, the more it is normalized and the less power the stigma will hold. For women in Tanzania and Kenya, it means feeling more confident to open up and say the word 'period' in public. It will also create a world of possibility and opportunity for the young generation of women. Let's think about it this way; when women/girls can attend school without having to worry about their periods, they can take advantage of every academic opportunity to comes their way.

Let us now move to a discussion of the work conducted over the last quarter of 2023. While acknowledging the challenges and successes of the year, it is commendable that we persevered with unwavering determination ensuring continual progress. We did some activities in Tanzania and Kenya as elaborated below:

Mwanza-Tanzania 

Femme conducted menstrual health awareness workshops in the Mwanza region from July to September and the Training activities have proven effective in increasing knowledge, changing behaviors, and garnering community support. However, challenges persist, and ongoing efforts are required to address them and sustain positive changes in menstrual hygiene practices. This report provides a detailed account of the various initiatives undertaken and their impact on approximately 288 beneficiaries (112M, 176F).

Training in Nyamagana Vocational Centre: As our mission states, we managed to provide menstrual health education to 17 women and young girls who are students from the Mwanza Vocational Centre in Nyamagana district. Lessons about puberty and menstruation were elaborated though the young girls were eager to learn more on how to use menstrual cups as it is a new product introduced by us. Additionally, we also emphasized more on personal hygiene and the use of healthy foods during period days as Proper nutrition plays a role in managing menstrual symptoms and promoting overall health. Lastly, we distributed 17 menstrual cups to all women who attended the training.

Training in Nyakurunduma Secondary School: In August Femme Mwanza managed to provide menstrual health education to  176 (92F, 84M) students. We managed to train all subtopics of the Twaweza workbook including Reproductive structures, puberty, personal hygiene, menstruation, positive relationships, and gender-based violence. The training went well and was so wonderful as the facilitator provided clear and effective elaborations, addressing questions from the participants and ensuring that knowledge was well imparted. The training used five days and the distribution of femme kits and workbooks on the last day was a great initiative to support ongoing learning and encourage the development of good personal hygiene habits.

Training with Chama Cha Viziwi Tanzania (CHAVITA) Mwanza: Addressing the reproductive health needs of individuals with disabilities is crucial for promoting inclusivity and ensuring that everyone has access to essential health information. In September Femme International provided menstrual health education to people with hearing impairments to impart knowledge regarding menstrual health education to both men and women. Providing such education not only empowers individuals with hearing impairments but also contributes to breaking down societal taboos and promotes a more informed and supportive community.

The topics covered in the training, such as reproductive systems, puberty, menstruation, and reproductive health hygiene, are fundamental aspects of overall well-being. The training was conducted at Mirongo Vocational Institute, which specializes in people with disabilities. About  95 (67F, 28M) were reached, and we also distributed  72 reusable pads and 23 menstrual cups to all members.

Nairobi-Kenya

Menstrual Health Workshop for Girls in Kariobangi, Nairobi: Kariobangi Social Justice, in collaboration with Femme International and Vision Changers, successfully came together to celebrate the Girl Child Day on October 11th at Kariobangi North Primary School in Kariobangi North, Nairobi.

The primary objectives of the event were as follows:

  • Commemorating Girl Child Day by engaging with school-going girls aged between 10 and 14 years.
  • Educating girls about the significance of Girl Child Day and raising awareness about their rights.
  • Distributing menstrual hygiene products.

The session was conducted in the school after the pupils had completed their exams for the day and were preparing to head home. The girls were divided into groups based on their classes, and members from the participating partner organizations formed teams of four to lead the sessions. Femme International conducted a session on menstruation, primarily for the class 8 girls who were preparing for their national exams. Femme distributed  50 reusable pads to those who expressed interest.

During the session, there was a request from teachers who felt left out due to the insufficient supply of pads for them. However, an opportunity was identified to include them in the program next year, as schools are closing for an extended holiday break. This initial session was relatively brief, and we couldn't reach a larger number of girls. Many girls expressed interest in AFRIpads, and we have agreed with the communication organization and the school to continue the program in 2024. This will allow us to conduct small, continuous sessions to reach every girl.

Due to budget constraints, we were unable to distribute complete Femme kits, which include workbooks, soap, soap dishes, and towels. We recommend securing additional funds to support the distribution of full kits to better meet the needs of the girls. In conclusion, this workshop on menstrual health has been a transformative experience, empowering young girls with knowledge, confidence, and a sense of community. Let’s carry forward the openness and support cultivated here, breaking the stigma surrounding menstruation. May each girl embrace her menstrual journey with resilience and pride.

Together we are laying the foundation for a healthier and more informed future. Together, we can continue to break the menstrual stigma and taboo, one conversation at a time, and in so doing we will be empowering women and girls around the world by removing one more barrier, and helping them achieve their life potential.

Ongoing session on Menstruation Health Management
Ongoing session on Menstruation Health Management
Session on products in Nairobi
Session on products in Nairobi
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Sep 5, 2023
Menstrual Health Day Workshop

By Sia Towo | Project Leader

May 3, 2023
Reflecting on the International Women's Day (IWD)

By Sia Towo | Project Leader

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Organization Information

Femme International

Location: Kilimanjaro, Moshi - Tanzania, United Republic of
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @FemmeInt
Project Leader:
Sia Towo
Moshi , Kilimanjaro Tanzania, United Republic of
$27,955 raised of $120,000 goal
 
359 donations
$92,045 to go
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