In a significant stride towards promoting menstrual health and breaking societal taboos, the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) Network organized a critical event in Hargeisa, Somaliland, to commemorate International Menstrual Hygiene Day. This event, marked by the distribution of sanitary kits and awareness-raising sessions, brought substantial support to women and girls, especially in the Statehouse and Daami Camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

At the heart of this initiative was the distribution of menstrual hygiene kits to hundreds of women and girls. The availability of these kits is crucial for maintaining menstrual health and dignity, particularly for those in vulnerable situations such as the residents of IDP camps. By ensuring access to these necessary supplies, SIHA Network directly addressed a critical need, significantly improving the quality of life for many women and girls.

Following the distribution, the SIHA Network conducted awareness-raising sessions to normalize menstruation. These sessions were designed to dismantle the stigma and taboos surrounding menstruation, which often result in discrimination and social exclusion. By openly discussing the biological normality of menstruation, the initiative aimed to raise a more accepting and supportive community environment.

The impact of these sessions was far-reaching. Teachers, parents, and community leaders were encouraged to support menstrual hygiene and create safe spaces for girls in schools and public life. This proactive approach is not only aimed at improving menstrual hygiene practices but also at promoting gender equality and empowering young girls to participate fully in educational and social activities.

The focus on IDP camps underscored the event’s importance. Girls in these camps often face significant challenges in accessing menstrual hygiene products, which can impede their ability to attend school and engage in daily activities. By providing these essential kits, SIHA Network played a crucial role in ensuring that these girls could maintain their health and dignity during menstruation.

SIHA Network’s efforts in Hargeisa are part of a broader mission to combat gender stereotypes, harmful norms, and practices, and discrimination against women and girls. The organization advocates for legal reforms and strives to empower women from grassroots levels to international forums. Active in Somaliland since 1995, SIHA Network has increasingly focused on movement-building and empowering women and girls in the region.

The success of this event highlights the importance of continued support and awareness-raising efforts. By addressing menstrual health and breaking down societal taboos, SIHA Network is paving the way for a more equitable and supportive society. Their work serves as an inspiration of hope and a call to action for other organizations and communities to join in the fight for gender equality and women’s rights.

As SIHA Network continues its mission, the impact of such initiatives will undoubtedly contribute to a more informed, inclusive, and empowered community in Somaliland and beyond.