Gender inequality, cultural taboos, poverty and lack of basic services undermine many girls’ and women’s ability to meet their health and hygiene needs in Somalia. Menstruation is associated with stigma and girls feel embarrassed, often excluding themselves from school and other social activities including generating vital income to support themselves or contribute to their community. Sanitary pads are expensive and often inaccessible and some girls resort to managing their periods with pieces of rags or paper which are often unhygienic and uncomfortable causing chafing, urinary tract infections, reproductive tract infections, and other reproductive health problems, including fatal toxic shock syndrome and infertility.
To help these vulnerable women and adolescent girls feel more comfortable and manage their periods with dignity, Hawa Feminist Coalition members started a campaign to train these women and adolescent girls on how to make their own washable, reusable sanitary pads using commonly-found materials so they can have access to sustainable sanitary protection and good menstrual hygiene at their fingertips.
Training of first 50 adolescent girls from IDPs camps in Bosaso are started today in Bosaso with presence of Hawa’s senior officers and its members who have volunteered to train these girls within one month.
The plan is to improve access to sanitary pads of 3,000 women and adolescent girls from the internally displaced community by training 300 women and adolescent girls on how to make their own washable, reusable sanitary pads using commonly-found materials.