Lusaka. May 29, 2015.
CHIPATA — On May 28, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (MESVTEE) commemorated the second annual Menstruation Hygiene Day at an event held at the Nsanjika Primary School in Zambia’s Eastern Province. Organized by the USAID-funded Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene (SPLASH) project, the event underscores the link between student health and success in school.
Recognized globally, Menstruation Hygiene Day promotes awareness of menstruation as a normal biological process and addresses the need for adequate facilities and products that promote quality menstrual hygiene management. The Nsanjika Primary School event encouraged government and community members alike to speak openly and to participate in activities that encourage menstruation awareness and proper hygiene.
“Menstrual Hygiene Day is a signature event of SPLASH – one where we focus on female students,” said USAID Education Advisor Malama Munkonge. “By providing clean facilities and products and by speaking openly about menstruation, we are eliminating an obstacle that prevents adolescent girls and young women from achieving their full potential.”
Evidence has shown a direct correlation between the presence of proper sanitation facilities and increased female student attendance. Over the past four years, SPLASH and MESVTEE have built toilets, ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines and shower stalls that have helped over 30,000 adolescent girls and young women better manage menstruation and continue with their education.
Health professionals, teachers, students and traditional leaders also delivered remarks advocating for improved awareness of menstrual hygiene and its positive impact on effective learning. Event participants learned how to make menstrual pads, watched educational plays and listened to poems based on menstrual hygiene. Attendees also viewed displays of locally-produced menstrual hygiene products and toured washing facilities that were recently constructed by the SPLASH program.