Weltherz X Femme International: Together for more women’s hygiene

Every woman knows her, not every woman is happy when she stands at the door again: the menstruation. It cannot be taken for granted that we in Germany regularly exchange ideas among friends or with our partners about how we deal with them, what complaints are associated with them and what tricks and means we use to alleviate them. In Tanzania, for example, women’s menstruation is still a taboo subject. And not only that: In many parts of society, the bodies of mature women are considered impure because of their periods.

That is why our World Heart members Denise and Vanessa met with representatives of Femme International during their stay in January to discuss the subject of women’s hygiene. The non-governmental organisation is committed to overcoming menstruation as a taboo topic through educational programmes and discussions and distributes reusable sanitary towels and mestruation cups free of charge.

No school attendance during the period

In East Africa, the period is a major reason why girls miss school and often drop out completely. As the CNN reports, this applies to around 16 percent of Tanzanian girls.

As a result, they are clearly disadvantaged compared to their male colleagues. Many girls and women in Africa simply cannot afford to fall back on the tampons and bandages, which are very expensive compared to their income, during their menstruation. According to CNN, as much as 5-10% of their monthly income can make up the cost of such hygiene products in Tanzania. This corresponds to a ratio of several hundred euros in Germany – every month! The girls and women therefore use newspaper or plastic bags instead. This is not only unpleasant, but also a health risk. The unhygienic alternatives are germ centres par excellence. Even with pain, girls and women usually have no access to medication, so that this is often the cause of the complete absence or loss of performance during menstruation. Even many working people miss a few days during their period, which not only affects their own income but also the economy.

Since not only children but also young girls and women in Tanzania are particularly in need of protection, we at Welherz have included them in our future project. In particular, this includes educational programmes with which we at Weltherz would like to make a contribution to the equality and health of women. We will continue to exchange views with Femme International on this and keep you informed of concrete progress in further cooperation.

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