Singer, CBO collaborates to fight menstruation stigma

A picture of Singer Annet Angaika A.K.A Neetah Baby and school children holding the frame for campaigning End Period Poverty. (Photo credit; Ephraim Modi D.S)

Story by Ephraim Modi D.S

Singer Annet Angaika popularly known as Neetah Baby and Emmanuela Dwatuka, the President of African Youth and Adolescents Network in South Sudan (AfriYan) on Thursday came out boldly with a message during the celebration of the menstrual health hygiene management to put an end to menstrual stigmatization.

As a joke, period stigma manifests with accusations that girls are menstruating, if they are perceived as behaving in a sensitive, sharp, or aggressive manner.

Many young girls tend to drop out of school due to menstrual stigmatization, and some people also claimed that menstruating women don’t function as well at work, which is basically an idea that has no basis in reality.

Speaking at the event, the president of AfriYan, Dwatuka passed a message to all boys and men, saying they should empower girls and always behave responsibly towards menstruating girls.

“What I can tell the boys, is that taking advantage of a girl because she is menstruating doesn’t make you a boy lover. What can make you a man is when you empower that particular (girls),” she said.

“It doesn’t need to be your sister to empower her (girl); she doesn’t need to be your neighbour or your friend. You can empower any girl on menstruation,” she added.

The AfriYan President further said, it does not make a man less valued in the community if he helps any girl in the streets who stick the cloth out of menstruation.

AfriYan as an organization, has been working on delivery services such as distribution of dignity kit and sanitary pads including disposable and reusable pads to girls both those in schools and out of school.

Dwatoka also reminded the public about educating many girls who has no background on menstrual health hygiene management, to be enlightened to enable them overcome challenges related to menstruation.

The South Sudan’s female singer Neetah Baby who also doubles as the Chief Executive Officer of Neetah Foundation commended the program that enlightened about exposing young girls to menstruation, adding that women always pass through the menstrual stigma.

“I will emphasize that you end stigma against girls with period because period is something sent from God, it is a gift; if you don’t see period, basically you will not be happy,” she said.

Neetah also called on every parent to be responsible in providing the basic necessities and interact freely with their daughters such that their daughters can be free to speak to them about what matters to them.

Menstruation is a healthy and natural part of the reproductive cycle, yet many children and adolescents girls in the country experience both period stigma and period poverty (not having access to safe, hygienic, menstrual products) during their life.

Misinformation and lack of basic knowledge lead to girls staying out of class during their period or makes children and adolescents feel ashamed for period bleeding.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) believes in ending period stigma through changing social norms and behaviors and by ensuring every child have access to knowledge and information about menstruation.

Every child (girls especially) should know what a period is and how the cycle works in order to feel normal and secure in their own body.

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