08 March 2021
On International Women’s Day, Senegalese advocacy group Speak Up Africa and social enterprise KITAMBAA have launched the ‘Menstrual Hygiene Management: from taboo to economic power’ campaign, to empower women and girls and urge leaders to implement public policies that account for women’s needs and menstrual hygiene management (MHM).
In Senegal, as well as many parts of West Africa, menstruation is still considered a taboo subject. It is estimated that in Senegal women lose 40-45% of their income during menstruation, and 40% of girls aged 9 to 17 miss school at least once a week during their period. Through the ‘Menstrual Hygiene Management: from taboo to economic power’ campaign, Speak Up Africa and KITAMBAA will advocate for better MHM by increasing engagement with women and girls, local authorities and religious leaders. The campaign will mobilise Senegalese communities through a digital communication campaign on social networks and seek commitment from local authorities and religious leaders to ensure the creation of an environment conducive to better MHM.
Speak Up Africa and KITAMBAA will also spearhead training programmes on MHM, building the capacities of women in Economic Interest Groups, Groups Promoting Women and other young women focusing on menstrual hygiene management. These activities aim to not only empowering girls and women through income-generating activities, particularly through selling feminine hygiene products, but it also aims to provide to every girl and women of childbearing age with a kit of reusable pads that meets their needs. One of this project’s key initiatives will include building a mobile menstrual hygiene management lab targeting the communities of Sandiara, Senegal.
Yaye Heileine Ndiaye, Founder and President of KITAMBAA commented: “Ensuring that women can manage menstruation with dignity is paramount to our success as a nation. It’s our mission to keep girls in school and empower women through raising awareness and providing menstrual health solutions. We are honoured to be able to continue this work and help the most vulnerable girls and women to regain their rights to well-being, dignity and comfort.”
‘Menstrual Hygiene Management: from taboo to economic power’ will support Senegalese women and girls to break the silence around menstruation, raise awareness about the role of MHM as a public health priority and generate political support on the issue while helping girls and women reach their full potential. By removing obstacles caused by menstruation and a lack of access to disposable hygiene products and adequate infrastructure, the campaign will enable more girls to participate in day-to-day activities and contribute to their country’s development.
Yacine Djibo, Founder and Executive Director of Speak Up Africa said: “For many years now, Speak Up Africa has recognised that there is a clear knowledge gap around Menstrual Hygiene Management in Senegal. We worked to address this through our ‘No Taboo Periods’ campaign, but six years later, it is clear that there is still more work to be done. As women, we recognise the positive impact that correct menstrual hygiene management can have on the health and livelihoods of young girls and women. We look forward to beginning this campaign with KITAMBAA and supporting the economic growth and development of women in Senegal.”
The campaign was created with the support of La Francophonie avec Elles, a fund specifically created by the International Organization of La Francophonie to support women affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The fund has so far supported 59 projects across 20 Francophone countries. For further information on ‘Menstrual Hygiene Management: from taboo to economic power’, visit https://www.speakupafrica.org/program/no-taboo-periods/.