The first training of trainers (TOT) on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) was organized in January, 2016 in collaboration with Girls2Women and University of Colombia. About 30 teachers from five schools were trained to train more than 700 vulnerable girls to make their own feminine sanitary pad. The training was much appreciated by teachers and students alike. They have acknowledged the need for the training, however even if they were equipped with making self-made sanitary pads most girls lack to buy cotton clothes out of which they can make a pad.
This year, on January 13, 2017, in order to break the psychological effect of menstruation taboo and empower teachers with knowledge and skills on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM), IFA, in collaboration with Colombia University and Girls2Women, held a one-day training of trainers in Addis Ababa, at Netsanet Chora Public Primary School. The training targeted 33 member of six public primary school teachers with the aim of rolling out the training to students in their schools.
Objectives of the workshop:
- Equip teachers with enough knowledge on the consequences of menstruation taboos on girls' education, to influence girls to take their menstruation positively and see it in different light
- Train them to make their own reusable feminine sanitary napkins and keep them clean
- Improve knowledge of menstrual hygiene management, its environmental effects and economic benefit for women with low income; and
- To plan rollout training for 800 students.
The ToT was conducted by Mary Moran, the founder of Girls2Women and Nursing Instructor at Columbia University School of Nursing and eight of her students. The team was accompanied by the University’s Global Initiative Director and Jennifer E. Dohrn, Assistant Professor of Nursing at the Columbia University Medical Center.
Pattern-making and sewing of pads and its holders was demonstrated by students from Colombia University. Ato Balcha, lecturer form Addis Ababa University, has discussed the environment and economic consequence of commercially produced pads. During the discussions several MHM myths and their experience was raised by participants.
The workshop has enabled the participants to:
- have deeper knowledge on girls' challenges related to menstruation and its effect on their psychological makeup and education performance
- reduce the taboo of menstruation among students in schools
- make reusable feminine pads and cotton underwear from Ethiopian cotton and how to keep them clean
In closing the workshop Dr. Gebreab said that MHM is not the issue of women, it is the issue of men, few NGOs only, or some few teachers only. It is the important issue that touches broader perspective economy, education, health, social and environment. It is an important theme for society, family, and the nation which tells us that we all should act in unison.