NAMIBIA: GENDER/NBC/13/9/18 SABANews 1
WINDHOEK – Biased social taboos about monthly periods continue to be deprived girls and women in NAMIBIA of chances to take part freely and easily in school and other social activities.
NBC News says the situation has driven the WOMEN’S ACTION FOR DEVELOPMENT to launch a campaign on menstrual hygiene management in the capital, WINDHOEK.
Biological experts long proved that the uterus lining gets thicker to prepare for a fertilized egg every month or so, if a woman becomes pregnant; but if such action fails, the body releases that lining through a process known as menstruation or a period.
However, monthly periods remain distorted among a number of cultural groups around the world – especially in AFRICA and ASIA, where the blood is associated with filthiness and shame.
The WOMEN’S ACTION FOR DEVELOPMENT in NAMIBIA says it is, therefore lobbying to counter the perceptions of impurity and disgrace that such cultures ascribe to menstruation.
The group has dubbed its campaign: My Periods is Awesome, with the aim to create a positive perception of menstruation and other natural processes in girl-children and women.
NBC News says a former Executive Director of the organisation has addressed delegates to the launch of the crusade, saying only 17 percent of female learners in rural areas have access to good sanitation facilities.
VERONICA DE KLERK also says 29 percent of schools in the SADC country have flushing toilets, while at least 25 percent of girls have toilets mixed with the ones used by boys.
She says such type of facilities available to girl-children during menstruation often force them to miss or drop out of school.
Ms DE KLERK says lack of suitable infrastructure robs women of healthy, safe, and hygienic menstrual management, as well as their privacy.
Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture Permanent Secretary SANET STEENKAMP says NAMIBIA will only realise quality education when society takes care of the health of adolescent girls.
The WISE ECONOMY Association of SWEDEN, which says all humans have the right to live lives with dignity and independence, has funded the menstrual health campaign in NAMIBIA./Sabanews/cam