Students and Youth Working on Reproductive Health Action Team is calling on Government to prioritise subsidising sanitary wear to ensure accessibility to all women and girls. The call comes as we join the rest of the world in celebrating the Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) day – a day that was set aside internationally to raise awareness of good menstrual hygiene management and the impact it has on young women’s lives. This year’s commemorations are being held under the theme, “It’s Time for Action”, which highlights the urgency for collective work that needs to be done in eradicating period poverty through implementation of policies that favour the availability of sanitary wear that is affordable to all.
The theme also calls for action on changing the negative social norms and breaking existing taboos surrounding menstruation. It underscores the need to accelerate progress towards empowering young women and girls in unlocking their educational and economic opportunities. SAYWHAT believes no girl should be left behind in school due to menstruation hence the continued advocacy for conditions that bring equality between males and females.
SAYWHAT pledges to continue ensuring that MHM is given the importance it deserves in our programming not only on this day but every day. We also note with great concern how the COVID-19 induced lockdown has further exacerbated the menstrual-related challenges many young women and girls face. We are cognizant menstruation does not stop due to occurrence of pandemics, hence we have taken our programming fully online to ensure information is readily available. The lockdown has disrupted access to information about menstruation within schools and community centres since these institutions are closed. The free distribution of menstrual products in colleges and communities has also been suspended yet prices for these commodities continue to soar beyond the reach of many. We are privy this has resulted in some young women and girls prioritising other basic needs over safe menstrual products; hence we continue to implore on Government to subsidise the prices of sanitary wear to ensure good menstrual health management is achieved.
Through our Web for Life Network – a female students’ movement and Mugota/ Ixhiba/ Young Men’s Forum – we continue to run campaigns towards achieving good menstrual health management for the benefit of all. As an organisation we acknowledge that MHM is not a woman’s issue only but requires both males and females involvement in order to achieve the desired results.
SAYWHAT’s work in the menstrual hygiene field includes the provision of educational resources that raise awareness and destigmatizes menstruation; and distribution of reusable menstrual pads and menstrual cups to the less privileged young women and girls.
Let us come together to create favourable conditions for the girl child to realise their full potential. Together we can!
Happy Menstrual Hygiene Day!