Adolescent school-going girls face serious challenges stemming from unacceptable taboos related to menstruation. Girls in Uganda are still ashamed to be in school due to menstruation blood stains in their uniforms, and occasionally, they are being humiliated by either boys and or male teachers.
Uganda has undoubtedly made significant progress in tackling the much-tabooed topic of menstruation and menstrual hygiene. However, many of the interventions are designed to primarily focus on adolescent girls.
Well, this makes sense because it’s adolescent girls experiencing menstruation which calls for such interventions. However, adolescent girls do not exist in isolation. They are a part of the larger eco-system comprising their families, their communities and the schools they attend.
In empowering girls with knowledge and positive attitude towards menstruation, and equipping them with sanitary pads to manage their menstruation periods hygienically, we must be aware that their ability to experience healthy periods is also shaped by the important people in their life.
These influencers; mothers, fathers, siblings, teachers, health care providers, play a critical role in shaping young girls’ experience of menstruation, and can overshadow the well-intentioned interventions these girls receive.
It’s on this background that LIDE Infinite Skills Africa (LIDEISA), works to address Girls’ menstrual management needs in schools through its LIDEISA Pads for Girls’ education campaign. We reach out to schools especially in rural areas and engage influencers including male teachers, boys and girls themselves and train them about menstruation amid encouraging them to offer support to girls during menstruation instead of shunning them.
On top of empowering stakeholders with rightful and impactful information regarding menstruation, we also distribute LIDEISA reusable sanitary pads to girls.
“We believe that engaging these key stakeholders fits into our target of handling menstruation-related taboos and distribution of LIDEISA reusable sanitary pads to girls. It’s a wide cycle of influencers, but we felt it prudent to engage boys and male teachers first because they spend much time with adolescent girl which our whole campaign targets.” Deo Walusimbi, LIDEISA Chief Executive Officer said.
He added that “If we really want to make menstruation a non-taboo in schools and all communities in Uganda, the time is right to engage all stakeholders from girls’ mothers, fathers, teachers, health care providers to break the culture of silence and shame that they themselves experience. We owe this to our girls, and we determined to perform this duty as LIDEISA team.”