MMC CALLS FOR FIRM COMMITMENT TO ADDRESSING MENSTRUAL HYGIENE IN RURAL SCHOOLS

The Maboshe Memorial Centre (MMC) would like to call on the various stakeholders in the country to fully commit themselves towards addressing matters related to menstrual hygiene at all levels of the community in order to break the silence about taboos and raise awareness on the importance of good Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) for adolescent girls in rural schools.
As an organisation that works for the promotion of clean safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM), community shelter, economic empowerment, legal aid, sexual reproductive health rights, HIV prevention, vocational and child education sponsorships (primary, secondary & tertiary) in rural schools and communities targeting disabled children, Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) from poverty stricken families, Maboshe Memorial Centre (MMC) feels that various stakeholders particularly our Zambian government should show commitment and priotise good menstrual health for girls in rural schools. There is need for strong partnership among various stakeholders in the country including the private sector, traditional and church leaders, the media and individuals to promote Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) through awareness raising of the challenges school going girls face in rural setup as a result of menstruation and highlight solutions that address these challenges.

Menstruation hygiene management is important for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); Availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, access to sanitation and hygiene for all with special attention to the needs of women and girls. Building and upgrading education facilities that are gender sensitive, provide clear opportunities to make Menstrual Hygiene part of the agenda. Therefore, government including various agencies, the church, CSO, media, policy makers and traditional leaders should prioritise promotion of menstrual hygiene.
As we commemorated the World Menstrual Hygiene Day on 28th May under the theme 'Education about Menstruation changes everything,' Maboshe Memorial Centre (MMC) therefore calls on the following to take appropriate actions:
Policy makers: Ensure that every girl everywhere has the knowledge, menstrual pads and the necessary facilities to manage their menstrual period hygienically, with dignity and confidence and without stigma.
Traditional leaders: Ensure that negative cultural practices that hinder good menstrual hygiene practices are abandoned. On the other hand ensure that good and beneficial practices are encouraged and promoted.
School Leadership: Provide menstrual hygiene education so that girls feel comfortable in class and are empowered to make decisions to manage their menstrual cycles and ensure that adequate supplies of menstrual products are readily available.
Media: Ensure that communities are aware about the importance of managing menstrual hygiene
Communities: Demand through elected representatives for the provision of menstrual hygiene facilities in local health facilities and other public places.
Private sector: Work with the CSO, government agencies, the church and policy makers to promote menstrual hygiene practices through their Corporate Social Responsibility programmes.
In 2016, the Zambian government through the Ministry of Finance made a policy pronouncement during budget presentation to Parliament that Government would in 2017 commence free distribution of menstrual pads to girls in rural and peri-urban areas. We have noted that despite making this commitment the government has not lived to its commitment to ensure menstrual pads are distributed to schools.
A check in 10 rural schools in rural Mongu district revealed that they did not-
Know about Zambian governments plan to distribute menstrual pads to schools,
They did not receive any menstrual pads.
This scenario puts the lives of many girls in rural setup at risks as they are most likely to continue using unsafe methods which are harmful to their health during menstruation.
Issued by the Maboshe Memorial Centre (MMC) Media Team
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