Over 300 Busoga girls skilled in menstrual hygiene, equipped with tools

Over 300 Busoga girls skilled in menstrual hygiene, equipped with tools
Some of the beneficiaries of the outreach posing with reusable sanitary pads given out by Reach A Hand Uganda (RAHU) in collaboration with partners at Budondo Playground in Jinja.

Jinja, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | Reach A Hand Uganda (RAHU), in partnership with various collaborators, marked World Menstrual Hygiene Day through a special outreach event held on May 28, 2024, at Budondo Playground in Jinja. The primary objective of the event was to tackle menstrual health challenges and empower young girls with the necessary knowledge and resources to manage their menstruation with dignity.

Several schools participated in the event, including Trinity College, Buyaba Primary School, Jinja Tree Nursery and Primary, St. Stephens Secondary School Budondo, East Secondary School, Buwagi Primary School, Budondo Primary School, Kyomya Primary School, and King of Kings Secondary School.

The opening ceremony was conducted by local women’s leader Mama Irene (Nnabakyala), who underscored the significance of menstrual hygiene and the community’s role in supporting young girls. Various health and medical services, including immunization, family planning, and HIV testing, were provided during the event.

Addressing a concerning news report about girls in Budondo resorting to unsafe practices due to the lack of menstrual hygiene products, Local Council (LC) 1 Chairperson Mukutalu Mayanja emphasized the importance of sustained support and awareness to prevent such occurrences.

Benson Muhindo, Head of Programs at RAHU, engaged the audience by dispelling common myths surrounding menstruation. These myths included beliefs such as avoiding climbing trees, staying away from gardens to prevent wilting produce, refraining from jumping games and swimming, and not carrying babies during menstruation.

Head of Programs at RAHU Benson Muhindo engaging with the attendees to deflate the various myths and misconceptions around menstruation.

ASP Alex Kyankaga, OC Budondo, addressed the audience on the pressing issues of domestic violence and early marriages, urging RAHU to expand their efforts to combat these challenges. He also advocated for the continued distribution of sanitary products within the community and advised young girls to steer clear of early marriages and criminal activities.

Ruth Nasseje from Kiira Motors, the mobility partner, expressed her pride in supporting the event, especially in Jinja, where their plant is situated. She highlighted the potential for success that arises when individuals are provided with the right opportunities.

Also Read: NGO starts fundraising drive for 20,000 sanitary pads for girls in Busoga

Representing Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU), Ritah Kabasomi underscored the importance of accurate reproductive health information and self-awareness. She emphasized the necessity of involving boys in conversations to dismantle the stigma surrounding menstruation.

A representative from the Kyetume Community-Based Health Care Programme reaffirmed their commitment to supporting young people, particularly in districts outside Kampala. They advocated for open discussions on menstruation as a universal issue and expressed readiness to engage in conversations about Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR).

As the day neared climax, Halima, a student from Jinja Tree Primary School, wowed the audience with her presentation on the key outcomes of the outreach, including the imparting of skills to girls for making reusable sanitary pads.

Also Read: GENU’s menstrual health camp empowers youth on Nakawa Youth Day

Namukobe Jane, the area councillor of Namizi ward in Jinja Northern Division, and women’s leader Madam Irene, discussed the distressing instances of girls resorting to using soil due to the unavailability of sanitary products. They also acknowledged the progress achieved through the outreach efforts.

Namukobe Jane, the councillor of Namizi ward, where Budondo falls, giving her remarks, alongside with women’s leader (Nnabakyala) Madam Irene.

SafePad Uganda, a key partner, distributed packs of reusable pads, each containing four pads, to numerous girls, offering a sustainable solution to menstrual hygiene challenges.

The event concluded with a sports session where the girls engaged in netball and dodgeball, marking a resounding success in raising awareness about menstrual health and hygiene.

This initiative also addressed harmful myths, aligning with RAHU’s dedication to ending period poverty and fostering innovation among young people to address the issues that impact them.