Chosen Mponye is a teacher at God Cares Primary School, a Fields of Life partner school in central Uganda. Chosen, like many other men, was not comfortable speaking about menstruation. However, when he sensed that his 15-year-old niece was ‘suffering in silence’, he devised a strategy to help.
Realising that his niece was afraid and embarrassed to tell him what she needed on a monthly basis, and hoping to protect her from seeking drastic means to obtain money to purchase items on her own, Chosen developed a plan. It was a secret code that they could use to communicate. “Daughter,” he told her, “When you need pads, just say item number one and for underwear item number two.”
Chosen attended I AM GIRL (IAG) training in his school and his understanding and attitude continued to change. He began to believe that even men can help in menstrual hygiene management (MHM). Chosen has become a bold advocate for fathers’ involvement in MHM in his community. He has also implemented the same coding method with his own daughters. “We freely talk about menstruation and other feminine issues because of this breakthrough in a traditionally taboo-to-talk-about issue.”
In August 2016, an initial meeting for an IAG pilot programme took place in his home district and Chosen was accompanied by two young girls from his school. One shared freely her joy in learning how to make her own reusable sanitary pads.
Feedback from other participants confirmed that the IAG programme is not only changing attitudes towards menstruation but is enhancing access to sanitary products and facilities, thus keeping girls in school and giving them access to quality education.
You can purchase an I AM GIRL kit through our Gifts of Life for just £7/€7. Each kit includes four reusable sanitary towels, pants, soap, a wash bag, a towel and advice on menstrual hygiene.
To purchase online click here.