Southern Africa Aids Trust (Saat) has advised school-going girls to take pride in menstruation as a natural gift for women and not a challenge to deter them from progressing with education.
Saat country director Robert Mangwazu-Phiri offered the advice recently during the commemoration of Menstrual Hygiene Day at Chiwamba primary school in Lilongwe.
He observed that most girls miss an average of 15 school days per term during which they experience menstruation periods. He said this makes the girls miss a lot of knowledge.
Said Mangwazu-Phiri: “It may happen that during the days they are absent, their colleagues are learning examinable materials and this will put them on the margin during examinations.”
He said to keep girls in school, 10 non-governmental organisations are implementing a programme to facilitate the making and using of reusable sanitary pads.
Under the programme, mother groups in various schools work with girls to make reusable pads and distribute to girls who have reached menstruation age.
One of the project implementing organisations, the Centre for Youth Development and Social Empowerment (CYDSE) said the project is showing good progress.
CYDSE executive director Nefitale Chizongo said apart from encouraging the use of reusable sanitary pads, the project is also facilitating construction of change rooms for girls in schools.