The Organization for Women and Children (ORWOCH) in partnership with OXFAM Liberia celebrated International Menstrual Hygiene Day.
The ceremony was under the theme: “Period in Pandemic.” The program brought together 26 young women in an open space who shared their experiences in accessing pads amidst the COVID-19 lockdown.
Since 2014, Menstrual Hygiene Day is celebrated annually on May 28 initiated by Wash United, a German NGO to raise awareness on the importance of proper Menstrual Hygiene Management for girls around the globe.
This day brought together voices and actions of women’s right advocates, citizens and government all around the world to promote the need for girls and young women to access good menstrual hygiene practices.
One of the participants, Ms. Janet Jackson said men and boys are important to breaking the taboo around menstruation since it was her brother who gave her an initial education on her natural process.
Another participant, Edwina Kyne said women should be educated about menstruation to erase the fear of first timers. She shared that there are no limits to what a girl can do during menstruation. She promised to utilize the knowledge by creating awareness about Menstruation for both boys and girls so it is treated as every other topic.
Speaking during the event, the Program Manager of ORWOCH, Ms. Musu D. Kamara said stakeholder’s attention should be drawn to the critical need for access to improved menstrual hygiene management for girls especially during these period of the Coronavirus pandemic.
She stated that over the years, girls celebrating the International Menstrual Day participating in ORWOCH’s program have had similar issues: lack of access to sexual reproductive health and rights education especially menstruation, majority knew little or nothing about menstruation before their menarche (first menstruation) coupled with the lack of confidence to even talk about it with relatives, and over 60% do not have access to menstrual hygiene materials though they live in the urban area.
This situation she said is even worse now that there is a pandemic resulting to limited access to money, health and other essential daily needs of young women.
“The big questions are: How can we change this? How can we wipe away the stigma around menstruation? How can all the Human Rights Violation around Menstruation be eradicated whether it’s traditional, religious or cultural?”Ms. Kamara questioned.
Lecture sessions included Proper Menstrual Hygiene Management during which participants learned about the different types of hygiene products that are accessible and how they are used; also highlighting the stigma caused by menstruation, insensitivity to the needs of women during that time and how it affects their self-esteem confidence and their ability to aspire for leadership and get involve in social transformation.
The Organization for Women and Children (ORWOCH) is a local women’s rights organization that champions the cause by ensuring women’s participation in decision making, the prevention of sexual and gender based violence and dismantling gender stereotypes. TNR