We lift the stigma around female hygiene to empower girls and help them reach their full academic potential and become strong leaders.
Though all residents face WASH issues, it is necessary to look at the situation through the lens of gender. In Tanzania, female hygiene has traditionally been a taboo subject, and most schools lack adequate facilities for young women. Without access to proper sanitary materials and fearing ridicule for bloodstains on their skirts, many girls miss school during menstruation. Lower attendance rates severely limit academic potential and contribute to a cycle of disempowerment.
Female Hygiene Groups
Young women, ages 11-18, meet with CHEs in after-school groups to learn about female hygiene, health, and puberty. All groups, as well as girls from surrounding communities, are also invited to attend Saturday meetings at the MSG office. Meetings provide young women with a safe space to:
learn about female health,
seek advice, and
engage in peer-to-peer education.
Participants also receive reusable sanitary products to promote proper hygiene and prevent absences from school. MSG strives to offers the communities we work in with several different options such as reusable pads and menstrual cups.
Dining for Female Hygiene
Several times a year, participants and female guardians (mothers, grandmothers, and aunts) meet for a large communal meal. During the event:
female health is discussed,
questions about female hygiene are answered,
new members are welcomed, and
girls showcase their new knowledge via songs and skits.
Group leaders and participants host an annual Decent Girl competition. The entire community is invited to attend to learn about female health issues via songs, dances, and skits. Prominent community members judge the event and select a winner based on her ability to teach peers and the community about:
menstrual hygiene, and
The winner of the Decent Girl competition is honored and awarded school supplies and feminine products. The Decent Girl competition, dinners, and group meetings instill confidence in young women and promote understanding throughout the community. Now, topics of female health are becoming less stigmatized in the Rorya District, and girls are realizing their full potential as students and young leaders.
Influencing Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) at a National Level
MSG’s Female Hygiene Program is one of the biggest in the Lake Victoria Zone of Tanzania and is recognized as a leader in MHM education. As a result, MSG has become a prominent member of the MHM Task Force in Tanzania and often collaborates with national research initiatives with partners like UNICEF, the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and the University of Dar es Salaam. MSG has also been featured in MHM films made in Tanzania and is proud to bring the interests of MHM stakeholders in the Lake Zone to national forums. We hope to continue contributing to the significant progress the MHM sector is seeing in Tanzania.