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One boy’s journey to maintaining the dignity of girls in school

13-year-old Joshua will never forget the hot afternoon in February when the Senior Woman Teacher, Scovia, gathered him and the other pupils for a health session. To his surprise, the topic for today was Menstrual Hygiene Management.

“When she started talking about menstrual hygiene management, the topic did not make any sense to me because I thought menstruation was only for women,” Joshua says with a smile.

However, at the end of the session, Joshua was very eager to become an I AM GIRL Champion and help to educate others on proper Menstrual Hygiene Management.

He said; “I have a sister and one of my friends is a girl. So, after the session, I was ready to become a champion because I have learnt that without proper Menstrual Hygiene Management the dignity of our sisters, friends and mothers is at stake”.

After the session Joshua, together with 14 other boys, signed up to become an I AM GIRL Champion and receive training. Through the training Joshua has learnt how to make re-usable sanitary pads (RUMPS) and liquid soap, he has also learnt about child protection policies and gender equality and sanitation, hygiene practices.

Edward Isabirye, Joshua’s Head Teacher, said that Joshua has taken the making of RUMPs very seriously; “When I asked him what he was doing, Joshua said, “I am making these pads to make sure that the girls do not stain their dresses”. He has even demonstrated how girls use the RUMPs to others in his class” Edward said.

Joshua concludes; “My friends and I used to make fun of the girls when they were menstruating. We called them all sorts of names and insulted them. Now, I am very grateful to our teachers for teaching us that menstruation is normal for girls and showing us how to support our sisters. I am very excited about the I AM GIRL project and I am looking forward to learning a lot of other things that will improve the personal hygiene and sanitation standards of our school”.