Menstruation is an integral, natural and normal process in a woman’s life. Menstrual hygiene upholds the dignity and well-being of women and girls. It is a vital part of the basic hygiene and reproductive health services that every woman and girl has a right to access.
However, menstruation and menstrual health are still seen as taboo in many African societies. But menstrual hygiene cannot be left to women and girls to discuss in secrecy and isolation. It must be acknowledged as a subject for public discussion. Education regarding menstrual health should be promoted.
The names that people use to refer to menstruation show how it is perceived and handled by different communities, and often convey how unwilling people are to mention it. In the Central Region of Uganda it is referred as “Ensonga” or “the issue”’; but this does not reduce the cultural practices and social myths which make it difficult for both men and women to talk about menstruation.
It’s against this background that we decided to take on “Ensonga” as the project name so as to break the silence related to the menstruation stigma among girls, boys, parents, teachers and the entire community.
The “Ensonga” Campaign is a one year project that was launched in June 2015 by Public Health Ambassadors Uganda (PHAU) with support from Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund (VGIF) and Wakiso District Education Department. The project will contribute to improved Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) among school going adolescent girls through improved access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities within primary and secondary schools in Wakiso District. Adolescent girls will be empowered with MHM information including use of reusable sanitary pads through formation of Sanitation health clubs and construction of sustainable WASH facilities. The project slogan is #MenstruationMatters
Ensonga Outcomes include
- Improved knowledge on sustainable Menstrual Hygiene Management among 3,000 school going adolescents girls through formation of sanitation health clubs and training on Reusable sanitary pads within selected primary and secondary schools.
- Increased knowledge and awareness on sustainable hygiene and sanitation practices among 3000 school going adolescent girls within primary and secondary schools.
- Increased access to safe, clean water and sanitation facilities for 3000 school going adolescent girls within primary and secondary schools.