In line with its on-going project ‘Menstrual Hygiene Campaign in Schools’, Girls Excel on the 19th and 20th of January 2019, successfully organised a menstrual hygiene management workshop in the community of Kongola, located about 15km away from the capital city Maroua, Far North North region of Cameroon. Tapping into the multi sectoral approach of Girls Excel, the workshop did not only target menstruation but also water and sanitation, health, education, sexual and reproductive health rights, gender and community leadership education.
Bringing together approximately 35 participants from 03 schools in Maroua, those trained will form a cluster of pioneer peer educators on menstrual health in their schools. They will lead the process of creating girls-led clubs in their schools to train more adolescent girls as peer educators. The workshop empowers the pioneer batch cluster of peer educators to replicate the solutions to their peer and create a safe space where girls in their schools and communities can talk freely about issues affecting them ranging from menstrual health to early, forced and child marriages, HIV/AIDs etc.
The workshop opened with a word of welcome from the director of Action for Education and Peace Mr Adjali who welcomed the participants and thanked the school administration for accepting to host the event at CETIC Kongola while also appreciating the different schools for opening their doors to the project and even dedicating staff to accompany the students to the workshop arena. The Director of Girls Excel took the floor and explained to the participants the project, its aim, partners involved and the scope of implementation that is South West, North West, Adamawa and Far North Region. She emphasised the importance of the girls, schools and communities taking ownership of the project even after Girls Excel has left. She used the example of the girls in Limbe who have already started their girls-led clubs and teaching the girls in their schools to make their own reusable sanitary pads. At the end of her project presentation, she thanked all the partners whose efforts and commitments have ensured that the project becomes a reality particularly the donor (British High Commission, Yaoundé), the Focal point (Action for Education and Peace), schools, government technical services (Minproof, SDO) and the Kongola community for their immense contribution and availability to take ownership of the project.
Our participants expressed their expectations, hopes and fears for the workshop. Some of the expectations of the group included gaining understanding and skills to facilitate training sessions on menstrual hygiene management in their schools/communities, sharing knowledge and good practices on MHM etc. Feka Parchibell, an educationist and menstrual health advocate contracted by Girls Excel handled the first sessions on menstrual hygiene management for this workshop.