Together Alive Health Initiative (TAHI) and Dash For Girls, in collaboration with several organizations including Uganda Youth And Adolescent Health Forum, Power To Youth Uganda, Imagine Her, Twekonyere Foundation, Womena, Women Probono Initiative, Amani Initiative, Raising Teenagers Uganda, Wezeshe Girls, and Slum Youth rehabilitation and Development organization, organized a three-day series of events as a pre-event for Menstrual Health Day 2023 in Napak District, located in the Karamoja region of Uganda. The three-day events, collectively known as MH Fest, took place from 22nd May to 24th May 2023 in three sub-counties: Lokopo, Lopei, and Matany.
Activities: The MH Fest aimed to address menstrual health and hygiene issues faced by girls and women in Napak District. The following activities were conducted during the three-day event:
- Dissemination of Menstrual Health Information: One of the primary objectives of the MH Fest was to provide comprehensive information about menstrual health and hygiene. Workshops and interactive sessions were organized to educate girls and women about menstrual health, including menstrual hygiene practices, common misconceptions, and the importance of maintaining good menstrual health. Information materials and brochures were distributed to ensure the dissemination of accurate and reliable information.
- Training on Making Reusable Pads: To address the issue of access to sanitary products, training sessions were conducted on making reusable pads. Participants were taught how to create their reusable pads using locally available materials. This initiative aimed to empower girls and women to take charge of their menstrual health by providing them with the knowledge and skills to produce sustainable and cost-effective sanitary products.
3. Training on Menstrual Cup Usage: In addition to reusable pads, training sessions were also conducted on the usage of menstrual cups by Womena. Menstrual cups are a sustainable and long-lasting alternative to traditional sanitary pads or tampons. Trainers demonstrated the proper insertion, removal, and cleaning techniques of menstrual cups. This initiative aimed to introduce girls and women to an eco-friendly and cost-effective menstrual hygiene solution. Womena also donated 200 menstrual cups to participants in all three sub-counties.
4. Legal Services Information: The Women Probono Initiative, one of the partner organizations, provided information on legal services available to girls and women in Napak District. Participants were informed about their rights regarding menstrual health, gender equality, and protection against harmful practices and Gender-based violence. This information aimed to empower girls and women with legal knowledge and resources to ensure their overall well-being.
The MH Fest spanned three days, with each day targeting a different sub-county within Napak District:
Lokopo Sub-County (Day 1): On the first day, the event took place in Lokopo Sub-County, where 97 girls and women were reached. The activities conducted included workshops on menstrual health, training on making reusable pads, training on menstrual cup usage, and information dissemination on legal services. All participants received reusable sanitary towels and menstrual cups to support their menstrual hygiene needs.
Lopei Sub-County (Day 2): The second day of the event was held in Lopei Sub-County, reaching out to 84 girls and women. Similar activities as on the first day were conducted, including workshops, training on reusable pads and menstrual cup usage, and legal services information. Participants received reusable sanitary towels and menstrual cups.
Matany Sub-County (Day 3): On the third and final day of the MH Fest, activities were conducted in Matany Sub-County. The event successfully reached 245 girls and women. The same activities were carried out as in the previous days, including workshops, training sessions, and legal services information. All participants in Matany Sub-County also received reusable sanitary towels and menstrual cups.
Total Reach: The MH Fest in Napak District successfully reached a total of 426 girls and women across the three sub-counties. Through the dissemination of menstrual health information, provision of reusable sanitary towels, and training on reusable pads and menstrual cups, the event contributed towards promoting better menstrual health practices and addressing the menstrual hygiene needs of the participants.
Acknowledgments: We extend our sincere gratitude to all the partner organizations, stakeholders, and volunteers who contributed to the success of the Menstrual Health Fest. TAHI partners in Canada bought reusable towels for the girls. The collaboration and support of Uganda Youth and Adolescent Health Forum, Imagine Her, Twekonyere Foundation, Womena, Women Probono Initiative, Amani Initiative, Raising Teenagers Uganda, Wezeshe Girls, and SYRADO were invaluable in organizing and executing the event. Together, we are making significant strides toward improving menstrual health and hygiene in Napak District, Uganda.