Innovative Storytelling Treks Across Bumbuli for Menstrual Health and Hygiene

Innovative Storytelling Treks Across Bumbuli for Menstrual Health and Hygiene

Every year, it is estimated that 1 in every 10 girls in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) miss school at least 2 days during their menstrual cycle as a result of poor Menstruation Hygiene Management, (UNESCO, 2015). One of the few contributors to this is that most of the schools lack basic facilities for MHH such as menstrual materials, changing rooms, running water and soap, and disposal facilities, as well as the lack of shared informed knowledge on menstruation and safe menstrual management to the adolescent girls, consequently having an impact on girls’ education (SNV, 2014).

And as an active stakeholder in ensuring that all young girls do not lack education due to menstrual constrictions, Tai Tanzania made certain that no mountain serves a hindrance to bringing every adolescent girl back to school. Targeting the young students of Bumbuli Secondary School in Lushoto – Tanga, we partnered with allied stakeholders like CocaCola Tanzania, FastHub Solutions, The Pink Box Initiative and Kiona Youth Coordinates as we commemorated International Menstrual Hygiene Day 2022.

As this year’s theme states, ‘Making menstruation a normal fact of life by 2030’, we took it upon ourselves to not only engage with the students but also provide the information and materials on managing menstruation that they needed. The remote location of the school showed how dire the need for supportive environment for the adolescent girls was important for their academic performances. More than 130 reusable pads, 50 disposable pads as well as 20 water drums were donated to more than 250 students of Bumbuli Secondary School. Most importantly, we had the opportunity to share informed knowledge through animation screenings, facilitations and question and answer sessions. Though their thirst for knowledge was not fully quenched, some of their burning questions were answered.

As it was discovered, the need for the community to support the girl child especially during her menses so that she doesn’t miss out school is very high. The visit to Bumbuli, was an eye-opener to how short on information the students were, thus the dominating presence of myths on menstruation somehow prevents the adolescent girls from managing menstrual health safely. It was also greatly appreciated by the students and teachers. “I have learnt that Menstruation isn’t just for girls alone, but it’s a matter that relates to everyone in the community”, Meriline, one of the students commented. The boys were not left behind as well, as one remarked, “Through these animations we now know that it is also our responsibility to ensure safe menstrual hygiene for our sisters and classmates.”

A heartfelt appreciation to our supporters: Coca Cola Tanzania, FastHub Solutions, Kiona Youth Coordinates and Pink Box Initiatives, as without them this trip would not be as impactful as it had been. The girl students not only have safe water drums for storage, they also can attend school during their menses, ensuring that Safe Menstrual Health is Every Girl’s Right!

Tai Tanzania utilizes the power of storytelling for social change as we use 3D animations and other forms of storytelling to inform and fight against various challenges in our community, especially Sexual Reproductive Health issues.

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