Chaque 28 mai est consacré à la célébration de la journée mondiale de l’hygiène menstruelle. Cette journée nous concerne tous sans distinction de sexe, d’âge, de race, de situation géographique et de religion. Pourtant au Burkina Faso, parler des menstrues est toujours un sujet tabou. Cette difficulté à parler des menstrues en général et en particulier des comportements à adopter pour une bonne hygiène menstruelle freine l’avancée de nombreux efforts qui sont faits au quotidien pour l’égalité des genres.

La menstruation est un processus biologique naturel et normal qui témoigne d’une bonne santé reproductive de la femme. Elle ne doit pas être perçue comme un phénomène qui dégage une aura négative, de la peur, de la honte et de la gêne. C’est ainsi que cette journée mondiale de l’hygiène menstruelle se veut être une occasion de briser les tabous sur la menstruation, de sensibiliser et engager une conversation sur la thématique. Elle a pour but également d’interpeller les différents acteurs et décideurs clés sur la précarité menstruelle. 

Parmi les Objectifs du Développement Durable (ODD), l’ODD 6 « Eau propre et assainissement » vise à assurer la disponibilité et la gestion durable de l’eau potable et de l’assainissement, et un des buts précis implique de donner accès aux femmes et aux filles à des installations sanitaires et à des mesures d’hygiène adéquates d’ici 2030. Il est donc indispensable d’aligner la thématique de l’hygiène menstruelle comme une priorité de santé publique. 

Pour dynamiser la célébration de la journée mondiale de l’hygiène menstruelle et apporter notre contribution dans la lutte, nous organisons incessamment des évènements. En guise d’exemples, nous pouvons citer les campagnes digitales, les causeries éducatives, les formations sur la confection des serviettes hygiéniques réutilisables, des plaidoyers, des activités de mobilisation de ressource personnelles pour doter des serviettes hygiéniques réutilisables aux jeunes filles et femmes vulnérables. 

Toutes ces actions traduisent notre vision : « celle de créer un monde dans lequel toutes les jeunes filles et femmes sont épanouies ». Aussi ces actions ont pour but de :

Le 24 mai de cette année, nous avons lancé une campagne digitale sur nos réseaux de communication. Aussi, le samedi 28 mai, nous avons tenu une discussion sur les menstrues de façon générale et les mythes autours de la thématique. Cette discussion a réuni plus d’une vingtaine de nos membres et prendra fin par une séance aérobic pour dénoncer les nombreuses difficultés auxquelles les jeunes filles et femmes sont confrontées pendant leurs menstrues.

Ne restez pas en marge, nous devons toutes et tous briser les tabous autour de la santé et de la gestion de l’hygiène menstruelle, alors engagez-vous également à nos côtés !


Par Farida Tiemtore, Présidente des Héroïnes du Faso et récipiendaire du Fonds Voix EssentiELLES. 

Today is an important day for Africa, as we come together to celebrate our freedom and independence. As a continent, we have so much to be proud of. Despite some prevailing public health challenges, we have used our collective wisdom, talent and leadership across areas from immunization to sanitation to further the sustainable development agenda and improve the lives of millions.  

However, despite these achievements, we still have so much to work towards and overcome. Our public health systems need further investment, we need greater funding for research and development to find new ways to treat diseases like trachoma and malaria, and we must scale up lifesaving public health interventions that protect communities across the continent. It was for this very reason that I decided to start Speak Up Africa almost ten years ago. As a specialised advocacy action tank, through our platforms and relationships, and with the help of our dedicated partners, we ensure that policy makers meet implementers; that both issues and solutions are showcased; and that everyone – from communities and civil society organizations to business leaders – play their part in contributing towards a healthier and more prosperous Africa. 

And the past year has shown us just how essential it is that all levels of society play their part in protecting health. As the COVID-19 pandemic struck, everyone – from public health leaders to community health workers – showed incredible commitment and made sure that communities were protected and treated for COVID-19. At Speak Up Africa, we launched our Stay Safe Africa campaign, to empower communities and individuals to take simple and proven prevention measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in Africa. As part of the campaign, we’ve also drawn attention to the importance of vaccine equity and advocated for greater African manufacturing capabilities to meet demand. 

Championing African solutions for African challenges is something that we have continued to dedicate our time and resource to, firstly through the launch of our African Voices of Science initiative, which aims to provide a platform for trusted African science leaders and health experts to share reliable information with African populations. The COVID-19 crisis laid bare the importance for local experts to be providing sound information to help people interpret data and guidance, understand risks, and appropriately respond to their local content, and so we are delighted to work with a range of fantastic experts to amplify their credible voices, perspectives and potential solutions to our health concerns. 

Secondly the Africa Young Innovators for Health Award, in partnership with the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Companies, IFPMA), which seeks to highlight and support the work of pioneering young African entrepreneurs developing health innovations that can make a real difference to healthcare workers. The award is an important investment in the human capital of Africa’s promising young entrepreneurs, and we look forward to awarding these fantastic innovators later this year. 

Ahead of Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) day this Friday, we are also proud to continue our important work on MHM through our “Menstrual Hygiene Management: from taboo to economic power” campaign with our partner KITAMBAA. This project seeks to break the silence around menstruation and empower women and girls to urge leaders to implement public policies that account for women’s needs. This is another important initiative that engages African citizens in the decision-making process, ensuring that these solutions work for those they are intended for. Our continent and its people have so much to offer, which is why it is essential to have continued African ownership, leadership and partnership. I am proud that Speak Up Africa plays its role in amplifying African voices across the continent, and I truly believe that by embracing our power, utilising our best and brightest, and shouting loud and clear, we will be able to strengthen our continent and transform the public health agenda.


Yacine Djibo, Founder and Executive Director, Speak Up Africa

The organizations Speak Up Africa and KITAMBAA launch ‘Menstrual Hygiene Management: from taboo to economic power’ campaign to break the silence around menstruation

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/.

Par Aïda Kabo, associée au programme, Speak Up Africa

C’est aujourd’hui la Journée de l’hygiène menstruelle, une journée mondiale d’engagement qui rassemble des influenceurs du monde entier autour de la promotion d’une bonne hygiène menstruelle pour toutes les femmes et jeunes filles.

Chez Speak Up Africa, nous croyons fermement en un monde où chaque femme et chaque jeune fille peut vivre ses menstruations d’une manière hygiénique, sûre et digne. Les règles font partie de la vie de la plupart des femmes et des jeunes filles, mais le manque d’informations conduit à des préjudices infondés, ce qui se traduit souvent par un sentiment d’isolement et de honte chez les femmes et les jeunes filles. Le besoin d’éducation n’est pas limité aux femmes. Eduquer les garçons sur la menstruation, c’est contribuer à accroître la compréhension du sujet et le respect.

Les lacunes en matière d’hygiène et le manque de compréhension sur les règles représentent un vrai problème pour les femmes et les jeunes filles à travers l’Afrique. C’est pourquoi nous avons lancé notre campagne « Menstrues Sans Tabous » en 2016. Les objectifs de cette campagne sont d’améliorer les connaissances, attitudes et pratiques en matière d’hygiène menstruelle et de faire de l’hygiène menstruelle une priorité de santé publique pour les autorités et les leaders de la société sénégalaise.

En Afrique, 1 personne sur 3 vit encore sans installations sanitaires adéquates, ce chiffre atteignant 75 % de la population en Afrique de l’Ouest. La gestion des menstruations est un défi majeur pour les femmes et les jeunes filles qui n’ont pas accès à des installations de base chez elles. Il est donc crucial que les femmes et les filles aient accès à des toilettes propres et situées en lieu sûr pendant qu’elles sont à l’école ou au travail, afin qu’elles puissent disposer de leurs produits de manière hygiénique et gérer leurs règles en toute confiance.

Dans le cadre de notre campagne, nous avons mené en juillet 2017 une étude auprès d’environ 2 000 femmes et jeunes filles afin d’évaluer le niveau de connaissance et de compréhension des pratiques de gestion de l’hygiène menstruelle. Cette étude a révélé que le manque d’accès pour les jeunes filles à des toilettes propres et sûres pendant leurs menstruations, perpétue la honte et la peur. Sur le long terme, les répercussions sur la santé, l’éducation et les conditions de vie des femmes sont considérables.

Une meilleure gestion de l’hygiène menstruelle en Afrique contribuera non seulement à améliorer la vie des femmes et des jeunes filles, mais aura un impact positif sur la société dans son ensemble. Encourager les femmes et les jeunes filles à aller à l’école ou au travail aura en fin de compte un impact considérable sur le renforcement de leurs moyens économiques. Sans les programmes d’éducation et l’infrastructure sanitaire nécessaires, la menstruation devient donc un obstacle à la croissance économique, contribuant au cercle vicieux de la pauvreté.

Aucune femme ne devrait avoir honte de son corps. C’est pourquoi nous continuerons de lutter contre toute stigmatisation à l’égard des règles. Si les femmes à travers l’Afrique sont éduquées sur la gestion de l’hygiène menstruelle et ont accès aux produits hygiéniques et aux installations sanitaires adéquats, nous leur donnerons réellement la clé de leur indépendance.

By Aïda Kabo, Program Associate, Speak Up Africa

Today is Menstrual Hygiene Day, a global advocacy day that brings together powerful voices from across the globe to promote good menstrual hygiene management (MHM) for all women and girls.

At Speak Up Africa we strongly believe in a world where every woman and girl can manage her menstruation in a hygienic, safe and dignified way. Menstruation is a normal and healthy part of life for most women and girls, yet a lack of information about periods leads to damaging misconceptions that often make women and girls feel isolated or ashamed. In fact, it’s not only women and girls that need education, but importantly boys. If boys are educated about periods, this will contribute to increased understanding and respect.

Hygiene difficulty and misconceptions about periods can often be damaging for women and young girls across Africa. This is why we launched our ‘No Taboo Periods’ campaign in 2016. The campaign is aimed at enhancing knowledge, attitudes and practices relating to MHM and making period management a public health priority for local authorities and leaders in Senegal.

Across Africa, 1 in 3 people still lack basic sanitation services, with this number rising to 75% of the population in West Africa. Because of this, managing periods is a major challenge for women and young girls who lack these basic facilities at home. It is therefore crucial that whilst at school or work, women and girls have access to clean and safe toilets so that they can dispose of products hygienically and manage their periods confidently.
As part of our campaign, in July 2017 we conducted a study of almost 2,000 women and girls to assess the levels of knowledge and understanding around hygiene management practices. Our study found that girls’ lack of access to clean and safe toilets during their periods perpetuated shame and fear. Crucially, this belief has tremendous and long-term impacts on women’s health, education and living conditions.

Improving MHM practices in Africa will undoubtedly improve the lives of women and young girls, however we must also remember the positive impact that this can have on society as a whole. Empowering women and girls to go to school or work will ultimately have a far-reaching impact on their economic empowerment. Without the necessary education programs and sanitation infrastructure, menstruation therefore becomes an obstacle to economic growth, contributing to the cycle of poverty.

No woman should feel confused or ashamed by their body. This is why we passionately advocate to end all stigma against periods. If women across Africa receive the right education about MHM and have proper access to menstrual products and adequate sanitation facilities, we will truly – and rightly – empower them all.

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