PERIODS MATTER | Destigmatising Menstruation
QÄSA QÄSA looks to support charities in East Africa every Christmas as a way of giving back to the communities we work with. This Christmas it was important to us to find ways we can improve female reproductive health issues, and help to remove the stigma and taboo about periods. We have been motivated by the awful news this year that a 14 year old Kenyan schoolgirl committed suicide when cast out of school because she started menstruating and was unprepared.
We have partnered with ZanaAfrica Foundation, who directly address these pertinent issues by expanding access to rights-based sexual and reproductive health education, sanitary pads, and safe mentors so girls can safely and confidently navigate puberty.
In Kenya, as in many countries, adolescent girls are at risk of experiencing life-changing violations, including forced early marriage, sexual and gender-based violence, unplanned pregnancy and female genital cutting.
Such pressures are insurmountable without knowledge of their bodies and rights; yet, there is no mandated menstrual and reproductive health education (MRHE) to deliver this critical help. If girls cannot get answers to their questions about puberty, or the tools for decision making, they cannot make informed decisions in social or sexual relationships.
65% of girls in Kenya cannot regularly access sanitary pads to manage their periods
1 in 4 girls do not know they can get pregnant once starting their periods
95% of girls do not know that rape, incest or coercion are human rights violations
SIMPLY PUT, ADOLESCENCE CAN MEAN THE END OF A GIRLS POTENTIAL
This year QÄSA QÄSA is pledging to donate 15% of our Christmas profits to the ZanaAfrica Foundation.
Working in Kenya, ZanaAfrica Foundation was founded in 2007 and has been supporting girls in marginalised communities while advocating for pro-girl policies for more than a decade. Funded by the Gates Foundation for the past several years they are working to help girls have more control over their bodies and their futures. So far they have worked with 50,000 adolescent girls. They have also worked with the government to embed sanitary pads into the national education budget to be as essential as other school items such as pencils.
Around £108 can support one girl through a year's worth of sexual and reproductive health education, the supply of sanitary pads, and mentorship at after-school clubs.
ZanaAfrica distributes Nia brand sanitary pads, available at low cost in the Kenyan market. Through it's unique packaging, it also provides accessible links to information on reproductive health and rights for women and girls.
Click here to see a video with the ZanaFoundation founder and her explanation of the work they are undertaking in Kenya.
If you are interested in donating directly to the cause, please click here.
We'd love to raise enough to support as many girls as we can. Please share this page with anyone who you think this topic resonates with.
Photos are credited to ZanaAfrica Foundation