Fighting menstrual stigma: Construction of girls’ changing rooms starts at Angaya primary 

(Last Updated On: 3 September 2023)

Gulu | Young Women Initiatives for Development [YWIDE] under their project of ‘promoting menstrual hygiene management among girls aged between 10-16 years old’ at Angaya primary school has been launched.

YWIDE is constructing a building with rooms to help young girls manage menstrual hygiene. This is a one-year project with support from Spanish Development Cooperation. 

Lamaro Prisca Faith, 17, a primary seven candidate of Angaya primary school, told TND News how young girls in schools without changing rooms face a ‘dilemma to manage their menstruation. 

She says they are still facing the challenges of a shortage of changing rooms. “When you start seeing menstruation at school, you have to go home and spend more than 4 days to finalize it.”

Spending several days, she adds, will guarantee that you miss lessons and face other stigmas from boys.

The 17-year-old also says stigma is leading to high cases of school dropout as they fear being stigmatized by boys.

Further, she adds that mismanagement of girls’ periods at school has fueled poor performance because days lost can’t be recovered.

 “Any young girl who passes through a stage of stigma from school will not be free in her study because the menstruation period is a monthly thing which will be happening as we grow.”

Nyeko Christopher, 16, is a primary seven candidate at Angaya Primary School. “Some boys advise girls who are facing such problems and guide them in the right direction. However, some boys are  heartless, they do stigmatize.”

Nyeko notes that in Angaya Primary School, male learners have been involved in making reusable pads to make male learners understand the meaning of menstruation and respect. 

“When you see any young girl experiencing menstruation, you have to call her in a good manner and tell her. You don’t laugh at her,” Nyeko says in an interview with TND News.

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Ayot Harriet Liba is the woman LC5 councillor of Unyama sub-county to Gulu district council. She confirmed that over four government-aided primary schools among them Ugul P7, Unyama P7, Coopill P7 and Angaya P7 will benefit from the YWIDE  project in Unyama sub-county.

“Fear and ignorance of our young girls at school sometimes drive them to run up to the bush, checking for places to change after they start experiencing such, this is affecting their learning as they will have abandoned class,” Ayot says. 

Ayot reveals that in the district council, they have been tabling matters of girls’ well-being to be addressed. “We’ll  continue campaigning for the right of a young girl and menstrual hygiene.”

Nighty Acaye, head teacher of the school has applauded all the initiatives being implemented to support young girls’ hygiene at  Angaya. 

“For so long we have been battling to manage menstrual hygiene at school. 

“With the available changing rooms and free sanitary pads, it will yield the level of girls’ performance, reduce school drop out in upper classes,” she notes. 

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She said the school has a total of 679 pupils with 320 females and 359 males. 

Every two weeks, Acaye says the school organize an event where both boys and girls teach themselves how to manage menstruation, adding that boys are taught how to support a girl when experiencing her days.

Richard Lapoti, a program manager at YWIDE says over UGX 29.5m will be used for the construction of a changing house (rooms) for young girls at school.

“The community of Angaya are in total support… they pledged to offer materials like sand, land for installing water line, among others to support this intervention.”

The construction will take only one month to complete, says YWIDE. 

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