Inspiring girls to believe in themselves and become aware of the challenges that face them is very crucial in improving their chances at enjoying their sexual and reproductive health rights. “Inspire Girl’s Camp” came in handy to achieve the above.
The week-long Camp was held at Royal Parents Primary School in Mityana district where about 100 school going girls were trained in a number of life skills. These included building their self-esteem, learning personal hygiene, interacting and sharing with each other, all aimed at helping them become the ideal women they would want to be in the future. Creative arts and cooking activities such as pastry making were also included to boost talent and fun at the camp.
The camp was organized in partnership with Health Plus Development Communications –HeDco and other organizations, running under the theme “A woman of class”. It attracted girls from Kampala and Mityana who were aged between 9 and 20 years and was held from 10th to 17th December 2017.
Public Health Ambassadors Uganda was honoured to facilitate body hygiene, menstruation hygiene and management. The girls were grouped per their ages and we had an opportunity to interact with them. They were also given a platform to demonstrate to their peers on how to keep good hygiene, wear menstruation management products such as reusable and disposable pads, among others. This enlightened them on menstruation facts and myths, how they can be handled and the fact that it does not make any girl less of a woman.
Most girls at the camp confessed not being able to openly talk about menstruation with their parents or teachers, which puts them at risk of acting on wrong information that they usually get from interacting with their peers.
A recent study revealed that of the 80 days allocated to a school term, 29.7% of the adolescent girls said they miss a minimum of four days per cycle. This also includes examination days, important class presentations and the introduction of new topics. Another 24.3% of the girls spoken to admitted to being stigmatised whenever they soiled their uniforms and as a result, they opt to stay at home until after their period (New Vision 2014).
To aggravate the problem, only 24.7% of their parents talk to them about menstruation and general body changes. One of the pupils says when it comes to issues to do with menstruation, puberty, sex or reproductive health, it is a taboo to talk to the male teachers. She adds that the senior women teachers are the only option and yet they have a lot of girls to attend to (New Vision 2014).