The theme of this year’s Menstrual Hygiene Day 2022, “To create a world where no women or girl is held back because they menstruate, by 2030”.
Superb CBO in partnership with CREAW, Woman beyond borders, Feminist for Peace Rights and Justice Centre, Kibera unite against crime, Kibera community emergency response team, Inua Dada Foundation, Wasanii Sanaa, Women human rights defenders hub, Amani Kibera, MAD sisters, Nikkofitti Zumba, Unicorn girls resource centre, Together for better foundation working on sexual and reproductive health and rights are joining efforts during this World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2022 to highlight challenges menstruators are going through and share concrete recommendations in live in dignity and free from stigma and shame.
Menstrual health has become a very important component in a woman’s life. Women and girls need to be taught on how to manage themselves when they experience menstruation. Both local and International organizations, National and County government and the community needs to facilitate menstrual health management. This is by ensuring they get adequate and relevant knowledge and information on menstrual health management, access to quality sanitary towels and other basic necessity like undergarments and access to clean water.
The national government under the national government affirmative action fund is mandated to distribute free sanitary towels nationwide to adolescent girls who are enrolled at public schools. The basic education fund act was also signed by the president and it states that this towels and dignity kitties be issued for free. However, the sanitary towels do not reach out at grassroots level. And as a result girls and women are forced to access them through unsafe ways. They engage in transactional sexual activities, intergenerational partners and hard Labour in order to access sanitary towels.
65% of women and girls can’t access sanitary towels and surprisingly members of parliament slashed the current budget for sanitary towels from 470M to 260M. We strongly condemn this decision and challenge the members of parliament to review and increase the budget allocation.
It is now time to ensure that we end all unsafe means of accessing sanitary towels because of high alarming increasing rate of HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancies, early marriages, school dropout, unsafe street abortion which later leads to high maternal deaths.
In the informal settlements, we need to think about the environment and health aspect too. The environment is not friendly as there’s shortage of water, lack of access to clean water and sanitation which causes diseases and, in this regards, girls and women end up getting infections which is very dangerous to their health.
Menstrual health rights are human rights. Lack of quality menstrual product and information violates several human rights which include;
• The right to human dignity
• The right to an adequate standard of health and well-being
• The right to education
• The right to work
• The right to non-discrimination and gender equality
What women and girls require during menstruation?
- They must have access to clean material to absorb or collect menstrual blood.
- They must be able to change these materials in safety and privacy, and have a place to dispose of used menstrual supplies or to wash reusable supplies.
- Menstruating women and girls must also be able to safely and privately wash with soap and water.
- They should have basic education about the menstrual cycle and how to manage menstruation without discomfort or fear.
- Women and girls should also have access to health information and care if they experience menstruation related disorders.
- Menstrual products must also be safe, effective and acceptable to the women and girls who use them. These products may include: Disposable sanitary napkins, reusable sanitary napkins, disposable tampons, menstrual cups, and clean, absorbent fabrics such as rags or underwear
Recommendations to the government
- Review and increase the budget allocation for sanitary towels
- Ensure all girls at puberty have access to menstrual products and information
- Ensure full implementation of the already existing legal frameworks and policies
- SUPERB CBO
- Woman beyond borders
- Feminist for Peace Rights and Justice Centre
- Kibera unite against crime
- Kibera community emergency response team
- Inua Dada Foundation
- Wasanii Sanaa
- Women human rights defenders hub
- Amani Kibera
- MAD sisters
- Nikkofitti Zumba
- Unicorn girls resource centre
- Together for better foundation.