Menstrual Hygiene Day – creating dignified sanitation spaces for women living in underserved areas
Poor sanitation has far reaching implications on the well-being of people around the world. Women and girls in urban informal settlements are particularly vulnerable to risks associated with poor sanitation. They risk physical and sexual assault when they walk long distances to access a toilet especially at night. During menstruation, adolescent girls in these informal settlements skip or drop out of school altogether due to lack of a safe space to manage their menstrual cycle.
Women make up over 50% of our Fresh Life network as entrepreneurs; driving the agenda – access to sanitation for everyone, everywhere. They play a key role in influencing positive WASH practices in their households and neighborhoods. On this Menstrual Hygiene Day, we take time to celebrate two powerful change makers who are going above and beyond to ensure that women and girls have a safe and private space for their menstrual hygiene needs.
Jane Wangari is one such entrepreneur, she runs four Fresh Life Toilets in her neighborhood of Shauri Moyo – a first for her community. Her frustration with unsanitary toilets prompted her and her mother to join the network. Every single day, Jane serves over 150 women and girls at her Fresh Life Toilets. Jane’s work not only ensures that her household is healthy at all times but also earns her a stable income with which she raises her two children.
Mama Freddie another entrepreneur from Kayaba invested in Fresh Life Toilets following the same predicament – lack of a dignified space for her teenage daughters. She wanted to protect her daughters and girls in the neighborhood from any assault. She also runs a shop where she has stocked affordable sanitary towels. Every single day, over 100 women and girls now have access to sanitary towels and a private space to manage their menses.
Every day Sanergy works with over 500 women to ensure that women and girls have access to a safe space for their menstrual hygiene needs. Menstrual Hygiene Day is celebrated every year to break the silence and build awareness about the fundamental role that good Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) plays in enabling women and girls to reach their full potential.