The Ministry of Education and Sports (MOES), in partnership with Water Aid Uganda on 29th March 2018 hosted a full day stakeholder’s meeting on menstrual hygiene management (MHM) and sexual reproductive health rights (SRHR). The meeting which took place in Kampala was held with the objective of increasing the profile of MHM and SRHR in schools through information sharing and learning to influence policies and strategies through a strategic multi-stakeholder response that will support MHM and SRHR in schools, to achieve sustainability of girls’ retention in schools.
As highlighted in the meeting’s objective, information sharing is central to tackling the challenges that women and especially girls face as we strive to reach the UN sustainable development goals specifically on gender equity, equality and development.
One of Water Aid’s key interventions aimed at achieving its strategic goal as mentioned at this meeting, is effective knowledge analysis and information to equip rights holders and duty bearers with information on water sanitation and hygiene (WASH), rights, roles, responsibilities and obligations to create WASH demand and supply.
It was pointed out that this intervention can be achieved by;
While these were highlighted as means of information sharing and future engagement strategies/ way forward, it was appreciated that there are a host of challenges that limit access to information on MHM and SRHR exist and should be addressed holistically. Some of these challenges through shared experiences as pointed out by participants include;
Even with these challenges, it was generally felt that the day’s proceedings, prior and future engagements are an opportunity for stakeholders to;
Granting these were a key part of the day’s deliberations, it was generally agreed that a lot has been done and a lot more still needs to be done to make information on MHM and SRHR accessible to all stakeholders including; students (both boys and girls), teenagers, the communities they live or come from, teachers, other duty bearers, the private sector among others. It is hoped that making information available will address the many challenges that girls face including the lack of gender friendly facilities at school, and negative attitudes towards menstrual hygiene that have contributed to girls missing out on approximately 11% of school time in Uganda. Ultimately access to information is an important aspect of development as it informs decisions in our day to day lives.