In Cameroon, less than 50 per cent of girls attend primary school, and of that group, only 32 per cent go on to attend secondary school. These girls miss an average of 4 days of school each month simply because they get their periods. That is nearly a week of school - 20 per cent of a school month.
Community Development Network (CDN) believes that women’s empowerment is key when it comes to global development and enhancing families to break a cycle of poverty. The most sustainable way to accomplish women’s empowerment and gender equity is by improving education and employment opportunities for women and girls. However, if periods remain unaddressed, they form a major obstacle for women’s empowerment.
The taboo around menstruation affects mental and physical health. The effects can go so far as to affect maternal mortality. Unclean methods of maintaining your period, whether due to a lack of resources or a lack of education surrounding the use of such products, can cause infections like skin irritation to something more fatal like Toxic Shock Syndrome.
CDN’s Menstrual Hygiene Project has two aims:
1. To improve the attendance rates girls in Cameroon
2. To empower girls in Cameroon so that they can confidently claim their human rights
CDN gives workshops and training to girls aged 11 to 17 that teach them about menstrual hygiene, sexual and reproductive health, and their human rights. During the workshops, the girls are also provided with sustainable menstrual hygiene products, such as menstrual underwear, reusable pads, and menstrual cups.
Because if the key to international development is women’s empowerment, we want girls to feel confident and supported so that they can excel.