Welcome back to our annual coverage of Menstrual Hygiene Day! *Woo* *Woo* *Cheers* Yes, yes we are thrilled too. We have exciting news. This year SHE built a brand new girl’s room and we want to tell you all about it.
Let’s Get Into It!
For the first time, SHE partnered with Rwanda’s Ministry of Health to help promote their new national health campaign. The campaign is a pillar of support that focused on improving menstrual hygiene in schools through action and ending the stigma surrounding menstruation. This year’s theme, “Its time for action”, called for people to take action in their communities.
Following the theme, a brand new girls’ room was built in a primary school that serves over 1,200 girls. Not sure what girls’ rooms are? Well, girls’ rooms are safe havens that provide beds, sanitary products, menstrual pads, etc. For whom, you may ask? Yeah, you guessed it, for girls (Take notes, America)! Now more girls have daily access to pads, water, and other necessities so they can manage their periods while at school. What more could you want?
Well, we have more news! The celebration attracted over 10,000 people, which is double that of last year’s. Not to mention, an additional 3 million people listened and watched through radio talk shows and media coverage!
Let us give you some facts: Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) teaches women and girls how to manage their periods in a healthy and positive way so they can maintain full participation in school and work. Men and boys play essential roles in MHM and combating gender inequality. They can be allies in various ways, whether that be getting educated on menstruation or just giving moral support to their classmates.
During our festivities, girls and boys marched in solidarity against menstrual stigma and taboos. Soap opera actors graced the stage as they performed skits from their hit show.
Meghan Nimwiza’s Miss Rwanda, speech normalized menstruation and encouraged boys to support girls during their periods. We heard the testimony of a 15-year-old refugee from Tanzania who struggled with her period because her family could not afford to buy her pads. She struggled to play with her friends and focus in class until her teacher bought her a pad. One pad changed her life. The young lady calls for parents to take action and start conversations with their kids earlier rather than later.
The celebration was a clear success in breaking the silence around menstruation. We are grateful for all the support shown by the community including various media outlets, and organizations for helping spread the message. The active participation of organizations and outlets like Health Development and Performance (HDP), WHO, UFPA, Water Aid, BBC Rwanda, The New Times, and Radio Rwanda (just to name a few) make all the difference.
So, mark your calendars for May 28th next year because we’re hoping to see an even bigger turnout!