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Empowering Girls Through Menstrual Hygiene Management at Kambenje Primary School

Menstrual hygiene management is a critical factor in ensuring that girls remain in school and perform well academically. Girls' education in rural areas often faces unique challenges, particularly concerning menstrual hygiene management (MHM). Before the intervention, Kambenje Primary School struggled with high absenteeism rates among female students during their menstrual cycles. Videsi Wyson, a member of the Kambenje mother group from Chole village, Traditional Authority Nkanda, Mulanje, recounted the situation: “Absenteeism had been rampant at Kambenje Primary School before receiving training on Menstrual Hygiene Management by CRECCOM under the GGE project. Many female students used to be absent from school, which lowered their performance as they missed important class lessons. This was a big problem.”

The absence of appropriate menstrual hygiene facilities and supplies exacerbated the issue. Many girls stayed home during their menstrual periods due to a lack of sanitary products and private, hygienic spaces at school. This significantly affected their academic progress and self-esteem. The stigma and misinformation surrounding menstruation further contributed to the girls' reluctance to attend school during their periods.

Following the MHM training provided by CRECCOM under the GGE project, the school saw transformative changes. The training equipped school stakeholders with essential skills and knowledge to support menstrual hygiene management effectively.

Videsi Wyson highlighted the progress made: "We ensure that female students stay in school during their menstruation cycle. As Kambenje mother group, we have managed to buy sanitary pads, soap, and basins for the school that the female students use during their menstrual cycle."

The mother group, driven by their newfound knowledge and commitment, took proactive steps to address the issue. One of the most significant improvements was the construction of a changing room at the school. Wyson explained its impact: “The mother group has also managed to construct a changing room. This has helped reduce absenteeism among many female students, and we are very proud of this. Thanks to the GGE project for the training we received, which has boosted our work.”

The changing room provides a private and safe space for girls to manage their menstrual hygiene, reducing the stigma and discomfort associated with menstruation. The availability of sanitary pads, soap, and basins has made a substantial difference in the girls' ability to attend school regularly.

Marita Major, a standard 6 student at Kambenje Primary School, expressed her gratitude: "I used to stay for a week without going to school when I was in my menstruation cycle, but now I can even attend school during this time. The changing room is operational, and the provision of soap and basins is beneficial when we are assisting ourselves."

Wyson added, “We are also yet to sew some sanitary pads that we are planning to share with our female students. This initiative will further ensure that all girls have access to the necessary supplies, even those who might not afford to buy them regularly.”

The impact of these changes extends beyond just attendance. The girls now participate more actively in class and other school activities, leading to improved academic performance and higher self-confidence. Teachers have noticed a positive shift in the classroom dynamics, with female students showing greater engagement and enthusiasm for learning.

By addressing MHM issues, the school community has taken a crucial step toward gender equality in education. The support from CRECCOM and the GGE project has not only improved the girls' educational experience but also raised awareness about menstrual hygiene, breaking down taboos and promoting open discussions on the topic.

The GGE project's intervention at Kambenje Primary School illustrates the profound impact that targeted support and training can have on improving educational outcomes for girls. The efforts of the Kambenje mother group and the support from CRECCOM have created a more inclusive and supportive learning environment for female students, ensuring they can continue their education uninterrupted.





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