Menstrual hygiene matters for the girls in Nyarugusu refugee camp, Kigoma Region
15 July 2021
Menstrual hygiene management is integral to the realization of Sustainable Development Goals and in ensuring no one is left behind.
Joyce, a young woman living in a refugee camp in Nyarugusu is now hopeful and happy that she is able to participate in community activities. Her story would have been different few years back where privacy, information, access to water, and materials to manage her periods, was often lacking and challenging for adolescent girls like her in Tanzania. Like many other women, Joyce menstruates every month. She is also a first-time young mother who no longer attends school. Recently, she received an adolescent kit containing reusable sanitary pads which changed her life around making it possible for her to participate in daily community activities. Before that she was uncomfortable and embarrassed, anxious, and fearful that someone will find out and chose to remain in isolation.
Another younger girl named Asma (not her real name) also received the sanitary kits which were distributed by the, ‘Ujana Wangu Nguvu Yangu’ -the ‘My Youth, My Power’–UNFPA and Irish Aid project during an educational outreach focusing on good personal and menstrual hygiene. As a very young girl facing the first months of menstruation, Asma could barely hide her joy and relief. She narrated to UNIC Dar es Salaam how she became more confident. “I no longer have to worry about how to manage my period. I am happy someone is talking to me about this” She said. Asma also informed, “This sanitary pack is a ‘golden opportunity’ now I can compete equally with the boys in my class.”.
Menstrual hygiene management is integral to the realization of Sustainable Development Goals and in ensuring no one is left behind. The UNPFA and Irish Aid project is working to include more women and girls in and out of Nyarugusu camp in Kigoma region to benefit from the sanitary packs and age-appropriate services and information. Last year, close to 3000 reusable sanitary pads contained in Adolescent Dignity Kits were distributed by UNFPA’s partner- the International Rescue Committee.
UNFPA also supports the renovation of maternal health facilities in Kigoma. maternity wards were upgraded in 2020 and a further 12 will be renovated in 2021.