Guest post by Nadia Hitimana, Health and Hygiene Manager, Rwanda
Our main goal of our teacher’s training initiative is to provide accurate information about menstrual hygiene management, or MHM. Education has always been our first step in breaking the silence and taboos about menstruation. We’re starting with teachers, whom will then train other staff members and key student leaders. This multiplier effect will then spread into the communities.
We began with a group of 50 teachers in November, and our objectives were (1) to increase teachers’ knowledge and skills about MHM; and (2) to equip teachers to train our MHM curriculum with their students.
Teachers deeply appreciated our training program. Our curriculum covered the gamut of health knowledge and related topics. The teachers were receptive, yet prevailing myths and taboos still came up as points of contention. I couldn’t believe it when one teacher still was not convinced that some women should be farming when menstruating.
Another teacher, however, expressed a new sense of admiration for his wife after learning about the menstrual cycle. “I am ashamed for blaming her about not being able to control the number of pregnancies she has had. I can’t imagine how confusing and stressful it must be for her and other women who are not informed.”
Our work with the 50 teachers continues throughout this year. We will continue to work with these teachers throughout 2015 so they can be effective MHM education trainers at their schools.
Stay tuned as we share more about our work with teachers this year!