Taking the Stigma Out of Menstruation in Uganda One Girl at a Time

When I was in fifth grade, most of the girls I studied with were much older than me. After class, we held a meeting where female teachers talked about our body and how we should manage ourselves when we start menstruating.

One day, my friend Gloria was afraid of what her body was doing. Seriously worried, Gloria ran to her teacher who was in the middle of the class. “The boys I’m sitting with had a razor blade on their desk, which hurt me,” she told the teacher. The teacher explained to Gloria that she wasn’t injured and told her to give her a cloth to put in her underwear and go home.

The next day, Gloria felt comfortable enough to talk to her mother about what she was experiencing. Two weeks later, our teacher talked to school girls who thought they were about to start their period. This was an amazing event in Uganda. In Kenya, no one talks about these “embarrassing” topics. I hadn’t started my period yet, but their story made me bold. I wanted to start menstruating.

Gloria and I took many initiatives by following up on what we learned at the conference, including the use of cloth napkins. Before we got this information, the girls used cassava leaves and others to tear the mattress as a menstrual pad. Some girls use banana leaves, but they are slippery. With this information in place, you can rest assured that you are with your friends, even during your period. In the past, girls were uncomfortable thinking they might bleed from their clothes. Leaves and mattresses are not very absorbent and are not comfortable.

I am now attending all women’s sessions at school. Previously, our group in these after-school sessions was only four girls. But as Gloria and I seem so confident and familiar with our bodies, more and more girls are coming to the meeting and being taught about the duration as well. I always tell my friends how they feel the privilege of being a woman.

Is a women-led grassroots community-based organization that empowers women and girls in a rural town called Busenbatia in eastern Uganda. WIL Uganda’s mission is to equip women and girls with the knowledge and skills to become leaders in their communities. Our vision is to be in a leadership position for women and girls to act as role models for future generations, while promoting equitable development in Uganda.You can follow us


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Written by Fem Society

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