In commemoration of the International Menstrual Health Day on May 28th, our focus for this year is more on creating a more open, inclusive, and supportive space through innovative avenues for girls and women to reflect on their experiences while collectively emphasizing empathy and mobilizing individuals to support menstruating girls and women to ensure a period friendly world.

This year’s theme “Together for #PeriodFriendlyWorld,” highlights the importance of breaking barriers, promoting education, and fostering empowerment in addressing menstrual health issues. We are excited to share with you a series of our innovative and thrilling activities for this year’s commemoration aimed at promoting menstrual hygiene and health awareness in underserved communities including the urban slums.

We shall engage with the various stakeholders at different levels in a holistic way, combining health, education, sports, art, and interactive discussions to empower individuals and break the stigma surrounding menstruation.

 Colours and Brushes Fest Mbale. Using art and Mural paintings to create awareness.

It’s more than the usual commemorations; art is key in capturing attention. This is what we are aiming for: we want young people to express their menstrual experiences through art and graffiti.

Together with Colors and Brushes movement Mbale, we are set to hold an exciting menstrual art and mural paintings session bringing together various categories of young people including local celebrities, boys and girls both in and out of school at the Mbale Elgon Museum to create and share illusive but realistic menstrual experience and relatable messages through imaginative art. 

Participants at the Colors and Brush Fest in Mbale will paint powerful messages about menstruation on T-shirts and art pieces, which will be displayed in public places such as schools and art galleries. Informative murals, led by renowned creative artists, will also be painted across several walls of the Namatala slums. These murals will visually represent our collective vision of a period-friendly world where menstruation is celebrated. Messages like “From Stigma to Strength,” “Menstruation is a Natural Right,” “Periods are Natural, Stigma Isn’t,” and “Let’s Talk Openly About Menstruation, Not Stigmatize It” will break taboos and promote open discussions about menstrual health.

Fireside Period podcast:

The Colors and Brushes fest will end with a fire-side Period podcast featuring thought-provoking conversations on menstrual health and empowerment. Through candid conversations with two students, a female celebrity influencer, a CSO representative, and a prominent, community influencer, we aim to share experiences to spark dialogue, challenge norms, and inspire action toward creating a more period-friendly world that celebrates the dignity and rights of women and girls especially while they menstruate.

 Ensuring menstrual empathy and support through shared experiences: The Period Tales.

Experiences give a sense of belonging, and this year we continued with our 2nd edition of the Menstrual Hygiene Story Competition. The entries this year were mind-blowing; we received over 20 story submissions from across Africa, including Kenya and Zimbabwe. Young women and men from diverse cultures shared their relatable stories, highlighting that menstrual challenges remain similar across borders. We are extremely honored to receive these entries and will reward the best piece. Additionally, we will develop a menstrual hygiene catalogue, an e-magazine that compiles the various pieces from the submissions.

Challenging Period Poverty in Slums.

Slums remain one of the areas with high levels of period poverty and poor menstrual hygiene and sanitation practices due to congestion and poor living conditions. Transactional sex for pads is common as girls struggle to manage menstruation safely, often leading to even bigger problems like pregnancy. This year, we are partnering with Touch the Slum Uganda, a Kampala community-based organization, to conduct a community outreach program in the slums of Kamwokya, one of the areas most affected by period poverty.

Our goal is to establish sustainable period practices, provide accurate information, dispel myths, and empower individuals, especially young people both in and out of school, to make informed choices about their menstrual health. Our youth champions will conduct training sessions on menstrual hygiene and health to equip adolescent girls and young mothers with knowledge and key facts about menstruation and menstrual hygiene management. Additionally, they will provide training on how to make reusable sanitary pads as a sustainable way for girls to manage their menstruation.

The day will commence with an aerobic/Zumba session, emphasizing the importance of physical exercise during menstruation. This will be followed by a netball tournament among young people living in slums. Through friendly competition and team solidarity, the tournament aims to break down stigmas surrounding menstruation, champion inclusivity, and promote unity in the pursuit of a more period-positive society. Following the tournament, a section of the youth champions will engage with the slum community, sharing critical messages that encourage empathy and support towards menstruation to break the stigma and foster collective support for menstruating girls.

On this International Menstrual Health Day, let us come together in our shared mission to foster a period-friendly world where women and girls are supported, respected, and empowered to menstruate with dignity. Through education, sports, art, and open dialogues, we can collaborate to dismantle barriers, defy stereotypes, and forge a path toward a more inclusive future.

Join us and be part of this cocktail of activities wherever you are, through our Hashtag #OkubadaKyabulijoNa’awe #MHDay2024 #PeriodFrriendlyWorld

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Together, let’s advocate for a world where menstruation is no longer a taboo but a celebrated aspect of individual health and well-being.