Activities by Ethiopia Red Cross Society (ERCS) Addis Ababa Branch

Issues related to menstruation, especially in schools, are related to a lack of perceptions, a lack of WASH facilities and items, privacy and space, awareness and education, limited access to counselling and guidance as identified by menstruating schoolgirls.

Ethiopia Red Cross broadly supports efforts to improve on Menstrual Hygiene Management through their WASH projects.

In honour of Menstrual Hygiene Day, an event was organized at a school in Addis Ababa where ERCS provided hygiene kits for the school serving for 295 female students as well as other equipment, including small water tanks, which ensure water supply for Menstrual Hygiene Management. 2 students from the school explained the difficulty to change their sanitary pads during menstruation because it is an unsanitary toilet. They also said that it would be better if they could have a room for rest at the school when they have menstrual cramps and feel different. Additionally, a male student performed a poem he wrote which was about ending the stigma and showing readiness to support menstruating women and girls.

“Hello everybody, may I get your attention

Don’t ignore the issue of menstruation

You like it or not it is a must to continue a generation

Listen my brother don’t tease your menstruating sister

Rather be her supporter

Hello my sister

Don’t get ashamed of it

It is a blessing to have it

I and we are here because you have it

Do not get ashamed and quit your school

I am your bother here to support you in the school“

Poem written and performed by male student of the school

Activities at Tanzania Red Cross Society (TRCS)

Menstruation occurs naturally and it’s neither a disease nor a disability. With support from Austrian Development Cooperation, Tanzania Red Cross society partnered with Austrian Red Cross to celebrate MH Day with School WASH (SWASH) club in Makutupa Primary school in Kongwa District, Dodoma, Tanzania.

The SWASH club performed songs, poems, role plays in celebrating MH Day and prepared a speech;

The song and poems were about the celebration of MH day, SWASH club goals and thanking Red Cross for the MHM and SRH project implemented in school. Role plays showed; steps for proper hand washing, Using, wash and dry re-usable pad and discarding non-reusable pads.

Speech: Presented by Ms. Magreth J Lesilwa, a SWASH club member.

The challenges presented related to menstruation are:

  • Insufficient pit latrines. Only 3 latrines pits in a school of 256 pupils.
  • No changing rooms for girls on menstruation.
  • Insufficient MHM kits.
  • Lack of waste disposal facility at school.
  • Lack of first aid kit for relief items on menstruation.
  • Lack of adequate and safe water. School uses untreated water from ponds and wells (3 km away from school each).
  • Increased school dropout or missing classes due to traditional taboos and harmful norms in the community on menstruation.

*Click on the images below to view them in full size.

Activities at Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) Kampala South Branch

Kampala South Branch joined the rest of the world to celebrate Menstrual Day, under the theme, of showing commitment to making Menstrual Hygiene a normal fact of life by 2030. The activities carried out during Menstrual Hygiene Day included:

Imparting of skills of making re-useable sanitary pads to youths and women in the community. e.g from St. Denis Sebugwawo Secondary School (Red Cross model link) and women in Bukasa parish. The Red Cross team was led by Esther Kabugho, phase 3 participant of the IFRC Solferino Academy’s Limitless Challenge who taught the girls and women how to make re-useable sanitary pads.

At the school, one female student of senior year 3 had this to say about the activity.

“I will not bother my mother again to buy sanitary pads, I will use these skills to make my own and teach others”

*Click on the images below to view them in full size