| Dec 10, 2021
Including boys in the menstrual health education
Achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is very important to all people within the community, knowing how important the goals are Femme International has been working hard towards decreasing the problems that are hindering girls and women in menstrual health management. Given the challenges of Covid 19, Femme International has extended her activities to boys, men and parents, to cover the gap seen during covid 19 due to lack of enough information about menstrual health. As it was found in Subsaharan Africa parents, relatives and teachers are the main source of information for adolescents. However, the relatives and parents are not well informed and some of them are uncomfortable discussing puberty, reproduction and menstruation. Following our experience in working with other regions in Tanzania, Femme has expanded her activities to a new location around the lake zone in Mwanza region, the program involves boys and girls, as the findings show there's a need for education on menstrual management and sexual health & reproductive rights. Not only that but also the menstruation and sexual health reproductive health right training program extended to teen mum as we focused to help mum and future generations that will be raised by those mums. Training has been conducted to students and the normal style of collecting data from students in school through questionnaires has been used in six months check-in.
TWAWEZA MENSTRUAL HEALTH WORKSHOPS
This quarter we focused on providing education to all students (boys and girls) and adults. In the Twaweza program in the Kilimanjaro region, about 60 (35F, 25M) students were taught about sexual reproductive health and menstruation, while in Mwanza about 215 (8OM, 135F) students were taught SRHR and menstruation. The training conducted in Mwanza gave Femme another eye on how to solve menstrual problems as many of the students’ boys and girls have little knowledge in SHRH and menstruation, hence more investment of time and money is needed to help the students in SRHR and menstruation issues.
Not only that, but also in Kenya, in this quarter Femme focused mostly on teenage mums who wish to go back to school and others to join courses like tailoring and hairdressing. We reached a total of 100 teenage mums to get access to education on menstruation and sexual reproductive health and mostly how their bodies work in terms of the menstrual cycle, safe days, and contraceptives. The important discussion that came from these workshops was for the teenage mums to love themselves, their bodies, and the children that they are now raising. We believe that the education and menstrual products provided to them will better their future and the future of their children, hence realizing the dream of reducing period poverty.
Together with Kariobangi Social Justice Centre, we also created awareness on children’s rights and the role of the community and parents in giving the right information on menstruation and sexual reproductive health to both girls and boys, Our main goal in the event was to bridge the gap that still exists when it comes to Freedom and safety when talking about menstruation and sexual reproductive health education. We reached a total of 30 girls who all received washable pads, We believe that with the discussion we had, we help reduce teenage pregnancy as these girls now have the right information on menstruation and sexual reproductive health, where to seek help or treatment when needed and talk freely to their parents or guardians on the topic.
As we are still going through the Pandemic Phase, In Kenya, Femme International decided to collect data on individual beneficiaries that have gone through menstrual health workshops, the data is collected through M&E online form that the beneficiaries fill. This is to maintain a social distance but still keep in touch with the beneficiaries and gather information on how they have benefited from the implementation of the previous workshop, if there is a need to update our curriculum or to find out, if there is a need to provide more information, the collection of data is still in the process.
Adolescence is a time of many new things including puberty changes and the onset of menstruation for girls, which are all important subjects pupils and teachers/parents need to have a clear understanding of. Puberty comes with many changes especially to girls which if there is no adequate and right information in regards to the subject; leads to challenges such as early pregnancy and an increase of school dropouts. The School club session has become an open session for young women and boys to express their thoughts and have an opportunity to open up to some of the questions or conversations they might have been struggling to have with their peers or at home with caregivers.
Talking about menstruation and SRHR helps to empower knowledge, gives guidelines and alleviates the anxiety for most young women and their caregivers/guardians. Femme International believes that every young woman should not feel ashamed to talk about their periods openly and have the right to have the knowledge and choice on what type of quality and sustainable products they should use whether i.e washable pads or menstrual cups. Managing menstruation in a hygienic manner is also an important point to emphasize. Through this program 615 (228M 387F) beneficiaries (boys and girls) were reached in 8 schools (5primary 3secondary) in Kilimanjaro region. Again, thank you for your continued support helps us to grow during this difficult time of the pandemic, as we inspire to even reach a wide audience.
Highlights of the project
- Attending digital safety training for women influencers and advocates helps us to think and come up with ideas on how we can influence the audience or become advocates of menstruation and sexual reproductive health through digital devices without becoming victims of cyberbullying
- Hoping to reach a wide audience both locally and internationally, we have started doing short videos on menstruations that will be posted on our social media every month talking about different topics on menstruation and sexual reproductive health.
- We have continued facilitating our workshops in schools, women community groups in both Tanzania and Kenya, with a hope of slowly extending the MHM conversation to men audience and young boys to know the importance of menstrual health management and why period matters.
- Hosting a workshop on MHM in collaboration with Songambele initiative has clearly made us realize as part of the Tanzania MHM Coalition women and girls with disabilities are often left behind on receiving such knowledge in regards to menstruation and sexual reproductive health.
- All persons with disabilities have the right to be treated equally and to be included in the conversations. Women and girls with disabilities are currently under-represented in MHM programming and the interventions; therefore they have to be they have to be included in every stage of the intervention
- Keeping in collaboration with other stakeholders in advocacy and awareness on period poverty and false traditions/beliefs that surrounds menstruation.
Beneficiary received washable pads