Hosted and organized by the Department in the Presidency Responsible for Women and UNFPA East and Southern Africa and supported by many more partners , the first regional symposium on menstrual health and management  was held on 28 and 29 May (International Menstrual Hygiene Day) 2018 at the Hilton Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Download event report

Here is a great video summary:


Call to action

Most importantly, the symposium ended with a CALL TO ACTION , which identified the emerging priorities for MHM in Africa and committed to further action led by an African Coalition for Menstrual Health Management.

  • Breaking the silence on issues of menstruation. Establishing an Africa Coalition for Menstrual Health Management, with the aim of sharing experiences and available evidence, and coordinating efforts to address menstrual health management issues in Africa.
  • Strengthening national efforts to support policy reviews and/or policy development to promote and integrate menstrual health management.
  • Strengthening integration and coordination of menstrual health management matters into existing development and humanitarian programmes in areas such as health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, education, water and sanitation, trade and industry, environment, gender equality, and empowerment programmes.
  • Partnering with global, regional and national organizations to support the development of a blueprint comprehensive framework – including SMART goals, tangible outcomes, indicators and a shared Theory of Change – to guide national multisectoral MHM programmes.
  • Increasing efforts to engage with communities, religious and cultural leaders as well as men and boys, with the aim of addressing social and cultural norms upholding positive practices and transforming discriminatory and unhealthy practices for improved menstrual health.
  • Calling on decision makers at all levels to coordinate efforts to promote integrated and comprehensive Menstrual Health Management at legislative and policy level with adequate financial resources to ensure sustainability and accountability. Finally, we commit to holding a symposium on MHM every two years to update each other on progress made, frameworks, and research; and share key successes, challenges and lessons learned.



The two-day symposium brought together 300 representatives from the African Union and Regional Economic Communities, national governments, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), donors, United Nations agencies, private sector organizations, youth led organizations and social entrepreneurs from across the relevant sectors, including WASH, education, gender, sexual and reproductive health, and adolescent development.

Watch these fantastic videos with voices from activists

  • Eliza Steward, 16-year-old school girl from Cape Town, South Africa, who sells menstrual cups in her spare time.
  • Kim Windvogel, Co-Director of FEM Projects, discuss the nuances and emotions of experiencing the menstrual period.
  • Wes Leal, a 19-year-old university student, breaks the silence around people who menstruate but who are not women.
  • Zizipho Ntobongwana, MD of Sheba Feminine Hygiene, which produces biodegradable sanitary-ware
  • Zolani Mahola, lead singer of internationally renowned South African band Freshlyground, explains why menstruation for her is when she feels at the height of her feminine power
  • Siv Greyson, a university student and non-binary transperson, explains why it would be exciting for her if there could be a shift in how people perceive bodies and what menstruating in that body can mean.



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