STADA’s programs and projects are designed to influence change of community members’ attitudes and behavior around issues of gender equality and equity, gender-based violence, and health and well being. STADA therefore uses transformational community-based methodologies in addressing gender inequalities, disparities, power relations and other social factors which perpetuate women’s and children’s rights violations.
MAKING MENSTRUATION A NORMAL FACT OF LIFE BY VISION 2030
Half of the female population globally is of reproductive age. Most women menstruate each month for about two to seven days. Yet, as it is, menstruation is stigmatized around the world. Misinformation about menstruation has caused girls to miss school out of a normal biological process. By 2030, information about menstrual hygiene should be accurate and accessible. The misconceptions must be dealt with. We need to be in a world where every girl can learn and safeguard her own health without experiencing shame.
In the past, most people engaged in risky sex because they were too shy to buy condoms. Different organizations came up and did more awareness. Today, most people have the courage to buy condoms at the counter. The same should happen to the issue of pads. I have seen many young girls feeling embarrassed when purchasing pads. One time I was at one of the shops when this young girl came to buy pads. She only pointed at the place where pads were placed. I was surprised that she couldn’t even mention the name. Why are girls still embarrassed about this simple biological process?
We’ve had situations where some men force their girlfriends into having sex with them when menstruating. Why add them more pain? In fact, menstrual hygiene management campaigns and talks should have more men attending than women.
Menstruation is not women’s issue, men and boys have equal stakes in Menstrual Hygiene Management and this will play a vital role in making menstruation a normal fact of live by vison 2030. We need men to become ambassadors and change makers who challenge status quo of myths, misconceptions and practices that allow fear, shame, and discomfort during menstruation.
Menstruation experiences differ from one person to another. With men stepping up to be champions, they will be able to provide psychological support by understanding and appreciating gender-biased vulnerabilities that are caused by hormones during menstruation.
Government and other stakeholders should continue supplying schoolgirls with free sanitary pads. These projects should be able to reach grassroots levels to help girls living in rural areas. Embezzlements of funds has always hindered these projects. Budget allocation done at national level will help facilitate them. Why should someone squander money meant for pads? How I wish this was one of the key manifestos of our leaders during campaigns.
In Western Kenya, 10% of young adolescent girls admitted transactional sex for pads. (Phillips Howard et al, 2015). It is uncouth to take advantage of nature. Our communities need responsible men who will support our girls and women to experience dignified menstruation. Resource mobilization is needed to continue empowering girls and boys in schools. Menstrual talks should never exclude boys. Men involvement is one of the ways of making menstruation a normal fact by 2030.
Writer: Tyson Okello Country: Kenya Title: Not for the devil You may tumble You may stumble But never let yourself crumble The world is a better place with you in
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