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

Femme International has been graciously invited by Generation Guiders, an organization based in Githurai, Nairobi, to participate in the celebration of International Menstrual Health Day 2023. Generation Guiders is a dedicated organization that empowers adolescent girls, giving them a platform to discuss the unique challenges they encounter and how they courageously overcome these obstacles. They are strong advocates for the sexual and reproductive health rights of girls and young women in Kenya. Additionally, Generation Guiders provides essential support to adolescent girls and young women, helping them access comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services within their community.

The primary goal of this special day is to provide menstrual health education to the girls and young women within the community. Generation Guiders has actively mobilized these individuals and aims to distribute 20 menstrual products, 10 menstrual cups, and 10 washable pads as part of their efforts to support menstrual health and hygiene. Femme International is honoured to be a part of this meaningful initiative, working alongside Generation Guiders to promote menstrual health awareness and improve the well-being of these young women in Githurai, Nairobi.

Generation Guiders collaborated with various partners, including local and governmental organizations, to celebrate International Menstrual Health Day. As one of the participating partners, our key role was to provide essential menstrual health education to the attendees.

During the menstrual health management (MHM) session, which spanned two hours, participants engaged in a comprehensive learning experience. This included identifying and understanding the functions of the reproductive system, both externally and internally. Additionally, the session covered a detailed explanation of the menstruation process. Participants actively identified various menstrual products that they were familiar with and introduced them to sustainable menstrual products, specifically the menstrual cup and washable pad.

To enhance the learning experience, we facilitated a question-and-answer session in between the activities. This allowed participants to seek clarification and gather valuable information about menstrual health and hygiene. Our aim was to empower and educate these young women, enabling them to make informed choices regarding their menstrual health.

Many of the girls felt at ease asking questions during the session, likely because they had already been involved in a program that provided them with sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education. This prior knowledge and exposure made them comfortable with discussing menstrual health openly. However, some girls who had not yet started menstruating were naturally curious but a bit shy when it came to asking questions aloud.

Despite any initial shyness, it was encouraging to observe that all participants displayed a keen interest in learning about and using the menstrual products introduced during the session. This interest is a positive sign of their willingness to embrace sustainable menstrual hygiene practices, which can have a significant impact on their overall well-being.

Following the conclusion of the Twaweza session, the host organization introduced additional partners who delivered motivational talks to the participants. These partners also generously distributed disposable menstrual pads donated by the government. Furthermore, individuals who expressed interest in trying out menstrual cups and washable pads registered their names and received these sustainable products.

Notably, the demand for menstrual cups and washable pads exceeded our initial supply. To address this, I arranged a meeting with one of the leaders from the Generation Guiders organization a week later. During this meeting, we procured an additional 10 menstrual products to meet the increased demand. I am currently awaiting the list of the remaining 10 beneficiaries from the Generation Guiders leader.

Additionally, other partner organizations expressed interest in exploring future collaborations. We exchanged contact information to facilitate ongoing communication and potential partnerships in the future. This collaborative effort highlights the commitment of various organizations to supporting menstrual health and hygiene initiatives in the community.

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Menstrual health awareness session on March
Menstrual health awareness session on March

March 8th is International Women’s Day; women across the world use this as an opportunity to raise awareness and rights gaps, and also organizers use the day to celebrate the progress and achievements of individual women; it gives us a moment to stop for a moment, reflect and learn something new and maybe carve a time for us to take some actions towards the lessons from the reflection.

Commemorating this day is among the essential issue in advancing gender equity, celebrating women’s achievements, raising awareness about discrimination, and taking action to drive gender parity. In humanitarian crises, women frequently experience more adverse effects than men, such as gender-based violence or an impact on their sexual and reproductive health.

Through research and education, Femme International plays a key role in advancing gender equity in humanitarian settings; we are championing our research partners’ and grantees’ roles in advancing gender equity. As an organization, Femme embraces equity by working to create a sustainable future for the health and well-being of the young generation in Tanzania. 

International Women’s Day is one of Femme International’s favourite days as we celebrate women in all spheres of social-cultural, economic and political development.

Femme International has worked with stakeholders to ensure all menstruators have equal access to opportunities and possibilities. Various activities were done from January to March, centred on increasing awareness about menstrual health management among community members. The location where the activities were implemented was Kilimanjaro and Mwanza regions

In commemoration of International Women's Day, Femme International in collaboration with Mwanza Regional Local government and other local NGOs conducted different activities in the Kwimba district in the Mwanza region. The organization provided menstrual health education to 6 women, 5 prison women, and  1 prison guard at Kwimba prisons. Not only that but also femme international distributed menstrual health products to guards and diapers for a one-year child whose mother is among the women in Kwimba prison.

Also, in changing girls' narratives about menstrual health management, we provided menstrual health management education to girls from Bujiku Sakila secondary school in Kwimba. They were distributed with the workbook to help them review what they learned about menstrual health management. About 43 girls were reached.

Community Outreach; Various community outreaches have been conducted in Mwanza and Kilimanjaro; our main aim was to raise awareness among other groups of women about  Menstrual Sexual Reproductive Health Rights. In Mwanza, Femme trained  33 young girls aged  16-22 who are basketballers on managing their periods and different kinds of menstrual products. The girls were so excited to receive menstrual cups distributed after training. Various questions were asked, including the safe days, how to manage pain when menstruating, and if menstrual cups can remove virginity.

In Kilimanjaro, the community outreaches were done to unprivileged Maasaini community women in the the Mikocheni village in Arusha Chini ward; about  22  women were taught about menstrual health management. In this session, women need more information about menstrual health management, including education and menstrual health products. Most of these women cannot afford sanitary pads for period management.

Medicine Distribution; This quarter we managed to distribute pain relief medication to secondary students of Nkolati, Nyakabungo, Nyak, Grandma, and Mamaye. Each school received  44 boxes of paracetamol  and  30 boxes of Ibrufen. Our goal is to ensure girls stay in school when they menstruate, hence decreasing their absence during menstruation; as narrated by other research, girls fail to come to school during menstruation because of pain.

Connect with us through our social media Instagram to learn further about the work we do on women's and girls' rights, menstruation and sexual reproductive health rights to build an equitable community of great and strong generations.


It's not rocket science, It's a PERIOD! 

Session on the use of the menstrual  cups
Session on the use of the menstrual cups
A photo group with some of the beneficiaries
A photo group with some of the beneficiaries


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Happy New Year to our Dear Supporters!!!

We are all settling in well to the 2023 year  and we are thankful for the last year.

Menstrual health is a human rights issue that affects all aspects of a person’s life and well-being. It involves health services, positive social norms regarding menstruation and gender, and effective advocacy and policies. “We have witnessed a decrease in absenteeism among girls in our school, your program has a positive impact on girls’ studies”, These are among the testimonies we have received from different schools that Femme International has managed to train her students on menstrual health management subject.

Many girls especially are not well informed about menstruation, and the information shared by their trusted sources which are their parents and caretakers neither adequate nor timely. Nor have witnessed many girls, especially those from the low bound cannot access menstrual health products, which increases challenges to the daily lives of girls. However, through the Twaweza program, Femme International has managed to train and distribute menstrual products and painkillers to different schools that we have been working with.

The activities mentioned above fall into two objectives

  1. Increase awareness and understanding regarding menstruation among girls and boys in secondary schools.
  2. To increase understanding of the quality, accessibility, and acceptability of menstrual products.
  3. To decrease stigma, norms and bad social-cultural practices regarding menstruation. 

We have been focusing on working with young girls and boys aged 13 to 19 years who are in secondary schools, but also our education has expanded to community members through community meetings where adult men and women meet. Twaweza has increased the ability for women and young girls to make informed decisions regarding their lives and bodies. In this quarter we have been working with different organizations and governments to ensure women and girls have access to justice including gender-based violence relating to menstrual health.

Twaweza workshop in schools.

Twaweza workshops are designed to be interactive and engaging, with facilitators tasked with ensuring that knowledge is not only disseminated but accurately perceived and understood by the students. Facilitators use group discussion, interactive information sharing through question and answers, demonstration, experience sharing, and different kinds of energizers and ice-breakers throughout each session.   In this quarter Twaweza workshop included boys and girls in forms two and three, the age range of 14-20. Both boys and girls attended sessions where our facilitators delivered comprehensive education about menstrual, sexual, and reproductive health. The total number of students who participated in the workshop was 203 (105, 98M).

Community engagement in menstrual health management.

Community is our key target and for us to be able to get well connected and increase the understanding of what we do; involving the people such as schools administration, teachers, local government, and community leaders. In this quarter we managed to conduct different training regarding menstrual health management for community members. Our objective was to raise awareness among community members on menstrual health well-being, by addressing the inequalities in accessing menstrual products with the aim of achieving sustainable improvement in girls’ menstrual health. In this meeting, we managed to reach 259 (197F, 62M).

Project highlights

  • School dropouts has decreased among girls, and the excitement among girls feeling free when is school has been the best feedback we keep receiving
  • The involvement of boys and men in the subject has a great impact in bringing the awareness and reducing the shame and stigma around menstruation
  • Menstrual health is a human right 

Statement from High commissioner for human rights " Menstrual health is an integral part of sexual and reproductive health and rights. It is an important determinant for the realization of all human rights of women and girls in all their diversity, the achievement of gender equality, and the Sustainable Development Goals”

To reach these goals, it is critical that policymakers, practitioners, and other relevant actors adopt a comprehensive, multi-sectoral and full life cycle approach to menstrual health, grounded in human rights.

Let's test our knowldge: How does menstruation affect equality?

 Thank you once again for your immense support and love, till next time and happy kickoff to 2023!!!!

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Dear Supporters,


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 Internation 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 focussed 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
  • GBV


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 focussed 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 cant 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 can not 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.

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GlobalGiving Quarterly Report


The first quarter of the 2022 is already done and we at Femme are ready than ever before to keep on thriving and breaking every single menstrual taboo insight! 

Sad reality is that, in these modern times of globalization there is still a struggle to offer a dignified menstrual life to every menstruators and the fundamental reason for this is because of the sheer shame and stigma attached to menstruation. The only way to tackle the negativity and myth surrounding menstruation and ending period parity, is by raising the voices through giving access to education and  access to sustainable menstrual products, playing open by normalizing and celebrating periods. Over the past decades Femme International has succeded to encourage those who are shy to talk openly, participate and celebrating menstruation as a normal biogical process of their bodies.  

The past two years the pandemic somehow forced many of us to lay low, however with your help we are very confident of being able to reach out and  encourage many other youngsters (males and females) to talk openly about periods, more male partners to be extra supportive of their female counterparts,non m,enstruators getting more involved and the society to allow menstruators of all ages to live a free and well dignified life.

Thank you for your endless support of our mission to break the menstrual stigma and taboo and to Access menstrual products in East Africa!! 

Femme Schools Club Program continuation

Access to adequate information on sexual reproductive health, menstruation and its management has been a great challenge which affecting menstruators and guardian/parents. To this day not many parents are comfortable talking about menstruation and reproductive health to their young boys and girls. The upcoming generation is the one that is thirsty for knowledge on Sexual reproductive health education and menstruation and that is why Femme continue working on changing this by making the conversation open and normal to all menstruators and non-menstruators and giving access to required education as this information is essential to all groups. The learning is not all about the information but also the use of inclusive language such as menstrual products instead of feminine hygiene/sanitary products, menstruators instead of women/girls when addressing issues related to menstruations.

To reach the upcoming generation, We believe schools club is an essential platform to create an open and free conversation without disregarding the other sex or group about Menstruation and Sexual Reproductive Health. When these young people i.e. boys and girls understands how their bodies works, then they are able to make safe and heathy decision for themselves in terms of safe relationships, sex, peer to peer education menstrual products choices, language and becoming menstruation and sexual health education ambassadors in their homes and communities. 


In Tanzania we have two schools, Kiusa Secondary School and Jamuhuri Secondary Schools; students (both boys and girls) did a peer to peer education where they explained to their peers on how beneficial  the club is and how it has helped them in learning things such as menstrual health education, personal hygiene education, Sexual Violence, Reproductive System for female and male which in so many communities is a taboo to mention. Through the school club program they felt comfortable and confident staying in school without having any fear especially during menstruation. We were able to reach 97 students at Kiusa Sec School; 55 females and 42 males  while in Jamhuri we reached 65 students; 40 females and 25 males which makes the total number of reached students to be 162 in both schools. The schools’ administration has also shown a great interest and recognized the importance of the program and we now have the full support of these schools. The program was introduced to 15 teachers,5 being male and 10 females as they had interest in learning more on these topics and stay as Femme ambassadors in teaching the other incoming new students.

In Kenya one primary school Mathare community Outreach participates in the school club program, the program included 55 students aged between 12-15 years, 35 being girls and 20 being boys. The education and discussion consisted of Female and male anatomy, adolescent age and changes of body, menstruation and why it is important to include boys in the menstrual education, healthy relationship between boys and girls, parents and children, personal hygiene, different menstrual products that exists and how to use and manage them,premenstrual syndrome management to avoid missing school and all fun activities and how boys can be involved in the change to end period parity.

Through these clubs we hope to reduce myths and stigma associated with menstruation and improve the overall well-being of these students. 

We are hoping going forward, if our resources and funds will allow; it is the great hope for Femme to be able to start distribution of the femme kits to the students as  They have shown a great need of menstrual and hygiene products, through talking to them some parents have expressed  being unable to afford buying the products every month and mostly in Kenya where for the past 6 months commodities prices has been rising rapidly.



In Kenya we also formed a partnership with Call for Africa on MHM workshop in Kahawa west. Need assessment was done with 38 girls and some of the feedback from need assessment were:

  • With the large number 94.7% stated that menstrual blood comes from vagina. This meant that they had knowledge on menstruation
  • 31.6% stated that it's normal to have irregular menstrual cycles as a teenager while 63.2% stated it's not normal and 5.2% didn't answer.
  • 76.5% stated that safe days is the  effective way of preventing pregnancy while 23.5% stated that it is not an effective way.
  • 51.4% stated that during their period their concentration at school worsened,40% stated their concentration was the same as usual and 8.6% their concentration was better.  
  • 44.4% stated that during their period  their confidence worsened,36.1% stated their confidence was the same and 19.4% their confidence was better.  
  • 50% feels like menstruation is a problem in your everyday life.16.7% sometimes is a problem while 33.3% is not a problem.


Total of 66 direct beneficiaries aged between 12-18 and 20 indirect beneficiaries (caregivers) aged between 25-45 participated in the MHM workshop. From the need assessment we understood that most girls had knowledge on menstruation so we opted for a discussion and question and answer as a way of teaching, The topics that we sensitized on were:  regular and irregular periods, safe days, PMS management, the importance of including and teaching boys about menstruation, Internal and external female reproductive system, UTI and the existing products to manage menstruation especially the sustainable ones, it was interesting since the caregivers learned from students and students also learned from caregivers.

It was unfortunate that Only the 60 direct beneficiaries received Femme Kits due to lack of more kits but promised to deliver to them Menstual cups alone since periods dont wait then deliver the rest once our situation is stable.


Commemoration of the International Women’s Day 

In the week of the Commemoration of the International Women’s day Femme international in collaboration with Rians in Mwanza region our new location; hosted a Women Gala conversation about menstrual health, family and economy and how a woman can play a huge role in all the three themes. It was another way of bringing women together and not only in a “We feeling” but in a sense of helping women to learn from each other and how to grow together. Femme International is more committed in working with different partners to ensure women’s welfare especially in menstrual health management are met.

As in Kilimanjaro region we joined hands with our partners; the local government and other 13 local organizations in commemoration of the international women’s day and Femme International had an honor to showcase our work and take place to going further celebrating women day and how important it is to talk about how completely menstruation is a normal biological process and needs to be acknowledged and accepted. Through a number of educational events, we aim to keep tackling the suppressions and discrimination attached to menstruation by breaking the silence trough making open conversation and breaking the taboos; while simultaneously spreading the awareness about sustainable menstruation.

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Organization Information

Femme International

Location: Kilimanjaro, Moshi - Tanzania, United Republic of
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @FemmeInt
Project Leader:
Sia Towo
Moshi , Kilimanjaro Tanzania, United Republic of
$26,035 raised of $120,000 goal
292 donations
$93,965 to go
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