Author: Femme International

Creating Safe Spaces for Girls

Talking about sexual and reproductive health with students is always a little bit awkward, even in the best of situations! Having these discussions within a culture that often considers anything related to reproductive health to be taboo, can be particularly challenging – and incredibly important. In rural Tanzania, such topics are rarely discussed. The national curriculum includes menstruation and reproductive health, but these topics are frequently rushed through, or skipped altogether, by uncomfortable teachers in underfunded, overcrowded schools. Femme International is an NGO that promotes women’s health through education, with a focus on menstruation. Menstruation is a major reason why girls in developing communities miss school or drop out together due to a lack of sanitary resources and the oppressive stigma that surrounds the topic. Femme’s Feminine Health Management program is sensitive in nature: menstruation is very taboo to discuss, as are issues of sexual health, female anatomy, and even family planning! However, Femme recognizes that having these conversations with young women is critical to keeping them healthy and in school. Girls need to understand …

We Care A Lot About Periods. This Is Why.

Women and girls face many challenges around the world that are unjust and often cruel. From child marriage to sexual violence, it is no secret that women experience oppression on a daily basis. But the natural phenomenon of a woman’s body should not be a source of shame, and it certainly should not contribute to her own oppression. Menstruation is the number one reason why girls in developing countries miss school or drop out altogether. In Kenya, a girl misses an average of 4.9 days of school each month because she is unable to attend class during her period. That adds up to 20% of the school year. Without access to commercial sanitary supplies, women will resort to using such methods as rags, leaves, newspapers and bits of mattress stuffing to manage their periods. Not only are these methods uncomfortable and ineffective, but they can lead to serious health concerns. The stigma that surrounds menstruation means that girls around the world have very little understanding about what is happening to their bodies each month. Our …