Building Girls’ Confidence, Knowledge and Skills on Menstrual Health and Hygiene
Menstruation and menstrual practices still face many social, cultural, and religious restrictions which continue to pose a barrier for menstrual hygiene management. The average age at menarche is mostly consistent across the populations that is between 12 and 13 years of age.
In many parts of the country especially in rural areas, adolescent girls and young women are neither prepared nor aware about menstruation, due to lack of knowledge on menstruation preparedness and management, or due to shyness and embarrassment. This poses difficulties and challenges at home, schools, and workplaces for them.
This lack of inaccurate knowledge about menstrual hygiene management exposes them to multiple health risks, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs), reproductive tract infection, among others.
On this basis, EVA conducted a 3-day workshop in Buter community in Benue state where adolescent girls and young women were trained on menstrual health hygiene including sexual reproductive health and rights.
17 years Langbaner Ana was one of the young girls whose capacity was built. “The training has improved my knowledge of menstrual health and hygiene. Before, all I knew was to change my pad and take my bath regularly, but now I know that dirty underwear as well can cause me an infection. I also got to know about the existence of the MyQ&A service, Frisky App, Link-Up App and particularly the DIVA menstrual App, where I can get accurate information about my body and sexual and reproductive health as well as enable me to track my menstrual cycle”, she said.
She further mentioned that “the teaching on sexual and gender-based violence has opened my eyes to laws that exist to protect the right of girls who have been abused sexually. I learnt to speak out to break the culture of silence and never see myself as a victim but a survivor”.
“I am glad I had the opportunity to participate in the workshop,” she said.
Given the multiple challenges adolescent girls and women face, it is evident that promoting menstrual hygiene management also includes safeguarding the dignity and bodily integrity and overall opportunities of adolescent girls and young women.
Written by Igwe Blessing