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Access to Education for Girls: Addressing SRHR Challenges in Tanzania. Organized by the Loretto Community

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Access to Education for Girls: Addressing SRHR Challenges in Tanzania. Organized by the Loretto Community

This parallel event, part of the NGO Forum at the sixty-eighth session of the Commission on the Status of Women, will address both the priority theme of accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective and the review theme of Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls by focussing on period poverty and sexual safety.

According to the Menstrual Health and Dignity Commitment rising from the Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF) as well as the WHO’s statement on menstrual health and rights out of the 50th session of the Human Rights Council Panel discussion on menstrual hygiene management, human rights and gender equality, three main action points emerge aimed at ending period poverty:

— Educate girls about menstruation.

— Create norms that see menstruation as healthy and positive.

— Improve access to sanitary products, running water, functional toilets and privacy.

As of 2018, Tanzania’s government reported that 60% of women live in “absolute poverty.” This coincided with a survey facilitated by KDI conducted in 50 primary and high schools in the outskirts of Tanga, up to 75 percent of girls have limited access to menstrual hygiene products. This then goes on to affect health, school attendance which then determines the levels of education attained, increases the rate of teenage pregnancy and ripples out into more nuanced and cultural perspectives of sex, sexuality, body image and self esteem. Affected girls therefore end up stuck in poverty perpetuating cycles.

Addressing period poverty should not have to be a revolutionary act but in such cases, it is because it potentially disrupts poverty cycles in ways that open up a world of opportunities for school going girls.

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