About Changemaker NyotaNyota and her parents live in the Mtendeli refugee camp in Tanzania. The political turmoil in Burundi in 2015 made them flee to Tanzania. Due to the taboo on menstruation, there is a lack of sanitary materials and separate toilets in the camp. It is the main reason why girls often do not attend school during their period or drop out of school. Nyota has launched a campaign in the Mtendeli refugee camp to create more awareness around feminine hygiene. She has given several workshops to girls and adults. Workshops that contributed to the improvement of facilities and lessened the shame amongst the girls. Nyota's goal is to extend the campaign to the adjacent Nyarugusu refugee camp.
What is the problem? Many girls do not go to school when they have their monthly period. Sometimes they even stop going to school entirely.This also happens in the refugee camp where Nyota lives.Because of a taboo that rests on periods, hardly anything is spoken about it .Many girls and women are embarassed about their periods.Therefore they do not know how to take care of themselves during their periods. Furthermore there is no access to clean and private toilets which girls can use. Also materials that are needed such as soap and sanitary towels are difficult to access.
What is Nyota’s solution? Nyota has already given workshops on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) to girls and young women in the refugee camp where she lives herself. She wants to extend these workshops to another refugee camp. Through her MHM workshops Nyota wants to make sure that parents talk to their children about menstruation. Besides that , she hopes that sex education will be given in schools. In this way boys as well as girls will know what changes take place in their bodies and how to cope with them. Nyota also proposes that a female teacher be engaged as a confidential counselor. The students will then have a person whom they can go to if they have any questions. Finally, it is important that girls have easy access to products such as soap and sanitary towels. This will ensure that girls will not have to miss school whenever they have their periods.
What is the goal? Nyota’s goal is to make sure that all girls go to school, even when they have their periods. She also thinks that it is important to break the taboo that rests on menstruation by continuing to talk about the subject of menstruation.
How does Nyota work? Because she has given the MHM workshops before, Nyota knows how to proceed. Together with a friend she leads the project and puts together the workshop. They give the workshop to children in the refugee camp. Mainly they address girls and young women between 12 and 25 years old.
What does Nyota need?
Reusable sanitary pads
Who does she need?
Parents who will talk to their children about menstruation
Teachers who will give sexual information and who will engage a female teacher as confidential counselor
Educational institutes that will adapt toilets and supply hygiene products