If men had period pains …

... or gave birth the issue of stigma and period poverty would be rare if non-existent

These are the opening remarks of Rita Marque Mbatha, Founding Director of WCCF at Zimbabwe writing about the inequality related to menstruation.

She sums it up in a nutshell. Probably no one than her has more insight into the sad reality of schoolgirls in precarious conditions in that country.

Rita Marque Mbatha

“Poverty and inadequate reproductive and sexual health education has untold debilitating consequences on the well-being of the girl child. The unfortunate part is that it affects their attendance in school. Not having access to sanitary pads has negative effects on the girl child. They testify to the use rags and newspapers to stem their periods… and often suffer the shame of staining their uniforms….”

WCCF after a five years’ experience with the implementation of the IAW Water and Pads project WP in around 10 different schools can look back on many positive and even often not expected results.

“This project is the most impactful student service that has been introduced in schools…Period poverty is in decline in schools which we have visited and donated sanitary pads. As a result confidence abounds and school attendance is on the rise…” 

The educational booklets about menstruation provided by IAW have many positive impacts on sexual health in general.

“They delve into the issues of sexually transmitted infections and explain in simple terms the danger of leaving an infection untreated. The victim of rape should approach support and counseling after the traumatic experience…”

In her excellent report, Rita comes to some fundamental considerations.

“Human rights are a requisite factor in the dignity of the girl child…

Why are condoms free and sanitary priced out of reach for the girls and women? Why the discrimination? The disparity is fueling the need for the girls feeling compelled to have sexual relations in private or face the humiliation of staining school uniforms after failure to access sanitary pads… For girls to be involved in unprotected sex in order to buy a pack of sanitary pads is a crying shame…Early child marriages result from the unlawful and illegal action of quid pro quo. The desperate girls are infected with a range of diseases which exacerbates the miserable life which they already find themselves embroiled in…”

Rita Marque Mbatha and the WCCF team are fully convinced of the WP project and are determined to continue it!

Read the whole report here.

WCCF Combination of schools
Primary School Children


One Response

  1. This reminds me of our old chant when we were demonstrating to get abortion decriminalized: “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.”

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