COVID-19: Puts a halt to everything but Menstruation.

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To all Kenyans, Happy Madaraka Day!

I hope you are having a fantastic week. Please hang in there. It might be looking and feeling all gloomy but, please do not despair. I listened to a fascinating sermon yesterday. The preacher spoke about and encouraged us to see the opportunities in the season we are in. Well, we are in a season where some doors need pushing. They might have opened on their own before, but now, they need some little pressing. Understanding and appreciating the season we are will help us deal.

Last Friday, 28th of May 2020, the world marked a significant day- Menstrual Hygiene Day. I followed the conversations across the globe under the hashtag #PeriodsInPandemic #EndPeriodPoverty #LightTheBridge #ItsTimeForAction. Every time I read articles and listen to stories about periods, I am shocked at how difficult it has been for some communities to dignify menses, a very important period of our lives every month. Well, I am convinced we must keep talking about periods since all women of childbearing age have to go through periods, at least ten to twelve times a year.  I believe many of us would pay whatever it takes to permanently stop the periods, especially those whose periods signal terror. It is believed that Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) can manifest up to 100 different symptoms including; headaches, aching muscles and joints, lower back pain, fatigue, acne, tender breasts, mood swings, cravings of specific foods, anxiety and the list is endless.

According to an article by the Independent, each day an estimated 300 million people menstruate around the world and being able to access sanitary products, safe and hygienic spaces in which to use them and the right to manage their periods without shame, is essential.

Therefore, no woman, no matter the age should feel shy about talking about periods! We should all say no to the social stigmas and taboos surrounding menstruation that often prevent people who menstruate from attending work and school, and even when they do attend, the lack of access to menstrual hygiene products, sanitation infrastructure and menstrual hygiene education can prevent them from reaching their full potential.

As long as we are women, we will embrace our periods with dignity. While I acknowledge the long way we have to go until we can fully deal with the stigma against periods, I believe it is time to recognise and amplify the various initiatives that have been put so far, across the globe. Women issues are issues that affect us world over, even though in different ways. Women rights are human rights.

In times of crisis, the reproductive health and rights of women and girls are often neglected and worse, threatened. The COVID-19 pandemic can be regarded as an example of how much a crisis can negatively affect the reproductive health of women and girls.

Raquel Daniels, a teens coach and an advocate for the rights of children in Nigeria, shares her experiences in responding to Corona Virus pandemic in support of young women and girls in the internally displaced camps.

Here is the link to Raquels story-

#IAmChevening #MyCheveningJourney

“At the current pace, it will take more than 100 years to reach Global Gender Equality” Anonymous

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Patience Nyange

I believe in a just society and I am a strong believer in Ralph Waldo Emerson words: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate and to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

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