SmartRiz Africa, HRRG, partners to celebrate 2023 World Menstrual Hygiene Day with massive community durbar at Jawani

SmartRiz Africa, a non-governmental organization has partnered the Future African Leaders Foundation, INSPIRE HER and the Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG) to hold the biggest community durbar at Jawani, a village located at the Mamprusi East District in the North East Region of Ghana aimed at sensitizing the masses on menstrual health hygiene practices including how the community can get government support to remain safe and healthy.

The much-anticipated mammoth event, which is the first of its kind to hit the Jawani community is being organized in commemoration of this year’s World Menstrual Hygiene Day slated for Sunday May 28, 2023.

The goal of the community durbar is to raise awareness about menstrual health and hygiene and empower girls and women with the knowledge and resources they need to manage their periods safely and with dignity.

The event will feature educational sessions, community discussions, and demonstrations on proper menstrual hygiene practices, such as the use of sanitary pads and the disposal of menstrual waste as well as the significance of World Menstrual Hygiene Day celebration.

It is equally an avenue to make their grievances known and to pave way for their calls to be directed to government with the aim that it would respond positively and urgently to their plight towards the removal of the 20% luxury tax on menstrual hygiene products in the country.

The event is expected to be climaxed with the distribution of over 1,000 free sanitary pads among the women and girls in the Jawani community to ease their burden during their menstrual periods.

Team Lead for SmartRiz Africa, Portia Manyaya speaking in an interview with the ahead of the event assured of its outfit’s readiness backed by full support of partners to make the event a success.

While lamenting the plight of the girl child on daily basis with regards to the affordability and accessibility of menstrual pads to cater for their hygiene during their periods, she quickly called for their support, adding “let’s come together and help the girl child have pride during her period”.

Ms. Manyaya therefore appealed to the authorities to help remove the 20% luxury tax imposed on the sanitary materials with urgency so that the product can be affordable and accessible to the girl child especially the rural girls who are the most vulnerable as their basic right to cushion them throughout their monthly menstrual periods.

Menstrual health and hygiene remain a taboo topic in many communities, particularly in Africa, where cultural and traditional beliefs often lead to girls and women being stigmatized and ostracized for their natural bodily functions. This has resulted in a lack of education and awareness about menstrual health, leading to health complications and negative social outcomes.
The partnership between SmartRiz Africa, Future African Leaders Foundation, INSPIRE HER and the Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG) including other supporters are critical to the success of the event.

SmartRiz Africa is a social enterprise that specializes in eco-friendly menstrual hygiene products. Their products are made from organic and biodegradable materials, providing sustainable and affordable alternatives to traditional menstrual products. Human Rights Reporters Ghana, on the other hand, is a reputable non-governmental organization that focuses on human rights advocacy and education. Through their partnership, they will work together to leverage their expertise and resources to raise awareness about menstrual health and hygiene in Ghanaian communities.

The community durbar is an essential initiative that addresses a critical public health issue in Ghana and globally. According to UNICEF, one in ten African girls misses school during their period, which translates to a significant loss of education and opportunities. Additionally, inadequate menstrual hygiene practices have been linked to various reproductive and urinary tract infections, which can lead to infertility and other long-term health complications.

Partnerships like this between social enterprises and non-governmental organizations are vital in addressing complex social issues.

The collaboration provides a comprehensive approach to problem-solving that involves community engagement, education, advocacy, and sustainable solutions. Moreover, it highlights the importance of cross-sectoral partnerships in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being) and SDG 5 (Gender Equality).

In conclusion, the community durbar on menstrual health and hygiene is a much-needed initiative that addresses a persistent social issue in Ghanaian and African communities.

The event will empower girls and women with the knowledge and resources they need to manage their periods safely and with dignity, ensuring that they can stay healthy, attend school, and reach their full potential.

The SmartRiz Africa, Future African Leaders Foundation, INSPIRE HER and the Human Rights Reporters Ghana partnership demonstrates the power of collaboration in sustainable development, emphasizing the critical role that social enterprises and non-governmental organizations play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Source: Joseph Kobla Wemakor

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