Menstrual hygiene management, we can talk about it

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Ny Hasina RAMAHENINA
Lucienne la couturière des serviettes lavables avec le supporter des droits de l'Enfant de l'UNICEF
UNICEF Madagascar/2021/Ramahenina
06 August 2021

Lucienne, the seamstress

Lucienne is the only seamstress in her village in the Municipality of Mandromoromotra, in Southern Madagascar. Along with other seamstresses from surrounding townships, she received training in May to manufacture reusable sanitary pads with the aim of marketing them as a long-term source of income. The training is within the framework of the menstrual hygiene management programme of the NGO SEED Madagascar, supported by UNICEF. At the end of the training, she received a starter kit. Today, she manufactured reusable sanitary napkins and managed to sell some to women in her village. "I find it difficult to sell the reusable sanitary napkins that I manufacture to girls and women in the village despite the awareness campaigns around menstrual hygiene that are regularly carried out in the village and even if I give them discounts," says Lucienne. But despite this, she does not give up and perseveres. Behaviour change is a slow, time-consuming process, which would explain the reluctance.

Lucienne also displays a few samples in front of the small shop she runs in front of her house to attract the attention of travellers who pass by her house, as the road which passes in front of her house links the city of Fort-Dauphin with the East Coast of Madagascar.

Lucienne la couturière
UNICEF Madagascar/2021/Ramahenina
Lucienne, chez elle, montrant les kits de production de serviette lavable

Fransisca discovers reusable sanitary napkins

Faravavy Fransisca is 20 years old; she gave birth to her first child last June. It was her mother, Marie, who bought reusable sanitary pads manufactured by Lucienne for her since delivery approaches. "It was a coincidence; my daughter's due date was approaching and it was by chance that I attended an awareness raising session about

menstrual hygiene. It intrigued me and I just stayed to listen. It was the first time that I heard about reusable sanitary napkins; I bought some for my daughter afterwards," says Marie proudly. On top of that, in order to give her daughter even more support, Marie also created a shower room adjacent to Fransisca's house.

Before discovering reusable sanitary napkins, Fransisca used completely inadequate scraps of fabric. "Today I can compare and can say that reusable sanitary napkins are comfortable and respectful of my body, health and well-being."

Marie et sa fille Fransisca
UNICEF Madagascar/2021/Ramahenina
Marie au chevet de sa fille Fransisca qui observe une période de repos après son accouchement

Miza Georgine, a grandmother convinced of the importance of menstrual hygiene

Miza Georgine is 70 years old; she is one of the elders of her village in the Municipality of Mandromoromotra. She is among those who are sensitive to awareness messages about menstrual hygiene management and in turn tries to convince those around her. After the visit of the facilitators, also trained by the NGO SEED Madagascar to conduct awareness campaigns, and Lucienne who demonstrated how to use these reusable sanitary pads, Miza Georgine still stayed in front of her house to gather her daughters and granddaughters, as well as other women's groups and even a few men in order to emphasize the importance of menstrual hygiene. "I have 14 children, 30 grandchildren and I don't know how many great-grandchildren I have," she chuckles and continues "I try to make them understand that it is important to talk about menstrual hygiene management, as women's health depends on it."

Georgine en comité devant chez elle
UNICEF Madagascar/2021/Ramahenina
Miza Georgine, au premier plan, rassemble son entourage pour discuter de la gestion de l'hygiène menstruelle.

Razanatsimba Laurent, Coordinator in charge of communication and social mobilization at the NGO SEED Madagascar, comes regularly with his team to support the awareness-raising efforts of facilitators in the field and the hard work of women like Lucienne. The NGO SEED Madagascar, with the support of UNICEF, is currently working on menstrual hygiene management in 21 communes in the Anosy Region, in the South of Madagascar.

Le comité de facilitateurs de la GHM
UNICEF Madagascar/2021/Ramahenina
Laurent de l'ONG Seed Madagascar, avec les facilitateurs de la GHM devant le bureau de la Commune de Mandromoromotra