Menstrual Health and Hygiene Day: MoBSE and Girls Pride Host Competition to Increase Awareness

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Officials and partners present at the event

By Fatou Dahaba

The Comprehensive Health Education Project, under the auspices of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education in collaboration with Girls’ Pride Gambia, celebrated World Menstrual Health and Hygiene Day at the Region One Education Directorate in Kanifing on Tuesday. The event aimed to enhance menstrual health and hygiene education among students and create an enjoyable and interactive learning atmosphere.

An interschool competition featuring the Funneh Board Game was held among twenty upper-basic and senior secondary schools.

Annually, May 28th marks Menstrual Health and Hygiene Day, which is dedicated to raising awareness about menstrual hygiene management and dismantling the stigma associated with menstruation.

Momodou Jeng, Director of Curriculum at MoBSE, said his ministry, in collaboration with partners, organized the event, which is part of a research project in which 43 schools in Region 1 participated in comprehensive health education programs.

He added that the research shows that period poverty is absolute and is affecting the educational performance and achievement of girls in school. Therefore, it is the right time to roll the program.

Phebian Ina Grant -Sagnia Principal Investigator Comprehensive Health Education MoBSE says the event’s importance cannot be overemphasized. She said the program is meant to create awareness, break the stigma surrounding menstrual hygiene, encourage dialogue, and promote the use of reusable sanitary pads.

“As World Menstrual Day, we unite to create a period-friendly world, and this year’s theme reminds us that change happens when we join forces. Menstrual health is a human issue affecting everyone, whether directly or indirectly. It’s high time we break the stigma and ensure access to menstrual products and educate everyone about menstruation and the health implications.”

She went on to say menstruation is part of life and yet often surrounded by Silence and stigma that many people pass through. “The myths can be dismantled and normalized menstruation in society by having open conversations, sharing stories, and listening to each other.”

Lamin Camara, Deputy Country Representative of UNFPA, said this year’s theme of Together for a period-friendly World requires partnership and collaboration, which must reach the community level.

He said boys and men are important allies to ensure they end menstrual shaming and period poverty.

He encourages participants to advocate for change and ensure the message is filtered to the community when they get home.

In the Funneh Board Game, the Upper Basic School category’s winners are New Covenant UBS, who took first place; St Joseph’s UBS, who took second; and Abuko UBS, who took third. In the Senior category, Baptist SSS took first place, Ndows SSS took second, and Kotu SSS came in third.

The event organizers will award the victorious schools T-shirts, bags, hand sanitizer, reusable sanitary pads, and educational materials.

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