Stakeholders Pledge Support for CAGEAD’s Menstrual Hygiene Management Initiatives in Schools

stakeholders pose for a family picture 

The Stakeholders Advocacy meeting on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) Policies in Schools, organized by the Center for Advocacy in Gender Equality and Action for Development (CAGEAD) has culminated in a series of commitments from key stakeholders aimed at improving menstrual hygiene management in schools.

The event, held In Bamenda on Thursday 23 May 2024, brought together representatives from various sectors, including government officials, traditional and religious leaders, NGOs, and community members. These stakeholders collectively recognized the crucial role of effective MHM in enhancing girls’ educational attainment and overall well-being.

The Chief Executive Officer for CAGEAD, Waah Clotilda Andiensa used the event to emphasize the importance of comprehensive MHM policies.

 “Today, we unite our voices and actions to advocate for policies that will support our girls in managing menstruation with dignity, ensuring they do not miss out on their education,” Andiensa said. 

Throughout the event, several presentations and discussions highlighted the achievements of the project thus far, including training 160 teachers and 75 peer educators on best menstrual hygiene management practices in schools.  Establishing 15 MHM clubs in school and reaching a total number of 750 students in school, teaching them on the production of reusable sanitary pads and beads. Additionally, over 10,000 students were sensitized through school programs, and community sensitization sessions reached 520 individuals. The project has also constructed/rehabilitated 15 MHM friendly toilets with cleaning maintenance equipment alongside incinerators for menstrual waste disposals, distributed 7590 dignity kits to students and 15 giant wheels and other IECs materials. 

In what she described as the “call to action”, Waah Clotilda Andiensa explained that it “is to prioritize the implementation of comprehensive and inclusive policies that address the menstrual hygiene needs of students including: Ensuring access to menstrual hygiene products, Providing education on menstrual health and hygiene, Creating safe and hygienic facilities, Promoting awareness, De-stigmatization of menstruation, and Involving all stakeholders in the process.” 

To register their commitment to the call, Stakeholders from various sectors pledged their support by signing the call-to-action bill. They then went on to outline specific commitments to advance MHM initiatives in schools and communities.

 “Menstruation is a natural process and should not be stigmatized. It is important to educate our community to change these outdated perceptions,” the Iman of the Bamenda Central Mosque said committing to educate the Muslim community about the misconceptions surrounding menstruation during Friday prayers. 

The Bamendakwe Fon's palace on its part expressed a commitment to encourage landlords within the Fondom to construct menstrual hygiene-friendly toilets in their residential building. 

“Our traditional authorities play a key role in shaping community norms. We will advocate for the construction of appropriate sanitation facilities that support girls’ hygiene needs,” the representative affirmed.

The Mayor of the Bamenda I Council highlighted ongoing efforts to improve sanitation facilities in the municipality and expressed openness to further collaboration with CAGEAD. 

“We are already working on constructing menstrual hygiene-friendly toilets, and we welcome partnerships to ensure that all schools have the necessary facilities,”she noted.

Additionally, representatives from the Ministry of Secondary Education, school principals, and Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) committed to ensuring regular water supply in schools and maintaining hygienic toilets. The Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and the Family, along with the Regional Assembly, expressed appreciation for CAGEAD’s efforts and promised continued support for MHM policies.

Moved by the commitments made, close to 20 civil society organizations present at the event endorsed CAGEAD to lead a network of Menstrual Hygiene Management organizations in the North West Region. This endorsement reflects the trust and confidence these organizations place in CAGEAD’s leadership and expertise in advancing MHM initiatives.

“We are honoured by the support and commitments made today,” Waah Clotilda Andiensa said adding “It is through such collaborative efforts that we can create a sustainable impact and ensure that all girls have the opportunity to succeed in their education without being hindered by menstrual hygiene challenges.”

"I am happy we had stakeholders in decision making positions who answered present to our call, and who have committed to push for policies that support MHM. Our work does not end here. We will follow up these stakeholders to make sure they respect their commitments, so that we have written policies on MHM that are actually being implemented." Tangiri Maxcel, MHM field project coordinator corroborated 

Founded in 2007 and legalized in 2011, the Center for Advocacy in Gender Equality and Action for Development (CAGEAD) Cameroon is a leading organization dedicated to promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls through advocacy, education, and community development initiatives. CAGEAD is strongly committed to working with women and youths to fight poverty, prevent disease, and inequalities and promote sustainable peace in their communities. The non-profit organization is committed to improving and transforming the lives of vulnerable women and girls and promoting their Socio-economic wellbeing by empowering them to acquire relevant skills and access live changing opportunities through advocacy and inclusive activities that promote skill-building and Leadership development.

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