May 28 is observed globally and annually as the Menstrual Hygiene Day. This is symbolistic of the fact that the Human Menstrual Cycle lasts for 28 days, and the menstruation itself takes 5 days. The purpose of marking this date is to raise awareness on the existing menstrual taboos in our communities as well as break the depressive cycle of stigma.
For 2019, we have decided to achieve this by extending our activities to the girls in rural settings who don’t have access to sanitary products and information.
We identified Siaya County and Bondo Sub-county to conduct our community mapping and settled on Kipasi Secondary School and Got Abiero Secondary School.
Some of the gaps that need to be addressed include lack of access to sanitary towels, absence of frameworks/policies that address issues concerning the girl-child, inconsistencies from partners and stakeholders such as the government (In fact, some political leaders used the distribution of sanitary towels for political expediency during the election period), HIV/AIDS management, Transactional Sex (Sex for Pads) and Teenage Pregnancy.
In fact, the subject of Teenage Pregnancy has increasingly become serious to the point that schools have had to formulate policies to accommodate Student Mothers. One of the schools is currently dealing with 42 cases of teenage pregnancy among its students.
As part of our Beyond Blood Campaign, we shall be in Kipasi Secondary School on May 28 and Got Abiero School on May 29 to hold conversations and come up with sustainable interventions to bridge these gaps.