UN Women Cameroon takes bold steps in integrating menstrual hygiene management

Date: Friday, April 28, 2017

On 18th April 2017 in Ntui, UN Women Cameroon urged Mayors and Municipal Councilors (drawn from 10 councils in Cameroon) to ensure that women and girls do not miss out on work and school during their menstrual period due to lack of appropriate facilities. The workshop came barely months after a similar advocacy workshop with Senators and Members of House of National Assembly on the putting in place of laws and policies that take into consideration Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM).

Mayors, Municipal councilors and UN Women Cameroon during the MHM workshop. Photo credit: Fajong Joseph Lereh, UN Women Cameroon.

Mayors, Municipal councilors and UN Women Cameroon during the MHM workshop. Photo credit: Fajong Joseph Lereh, UN Women Cameroon.

The council officials were advised to initiate policies and laws that will oblige the integration of Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in the construction of public edifices including structures constructed by the councils such as Council offices and halls, markets and schools.

“We recommend that the construction of your local markets make provision of separate and secured toilets for women and men with available portable water”, Emmanuel Ateba of UN Women Cameroon explained.

Emmanuel Ateba of UN Women Cameroon speaking during official opening. Photo credit: Fajong Joseph Lereh, UN Women Cameroon.

Emmanuel Ateba of UN Women Cameroon speaking during official opening. Photo credits: Fajong Joseph Lereh, UN Women Cameroon.

This call was made on in Ntui during a three-day workshop on the training of local elected officials on how to integrate MHM through gender sensitive budgeting and planning in council activities from 18 to 21 April 2017.

According to Zambo Bouchard, Program Assistant at UN Women Cameroon, the overall objective of the training workshop was to ensure that the specific needs of women and girls in the area of hygiene and sanitation, specifically menstrual hygiene management is integrated in policies, laws and state budget of Cameroon.

Zambo Bouchard of UN Women Cameroon expose participants to key burning issues about MHM. Photo credit: Fajong Joseph Lereh, UN Women Cameroon.

Zambo Bouchard of UN Women Cameroon expose participants to key burning issues about MHM. Photo credit: Fajong Joseph Lereh, UN Women Cameroon.

There were a series of presentations on gender issues which gave information on how to integrate MHM in the community. This was suggested to be through gender responsive budgeting in the local development plans of councils by Julie Mballa of UN Women. She would closely work together with experts from the Ministry of Water Resources and Energy, ensuing discussions focused on the need to reflect MHM as a crucial problem that needs an urgent solution. The Mayors and Municipal councilors present took a firm commitment to ensure that the specific needs of women are prioritized during their annual planning and budgeting.

“In 2017, the Council of Ntui has set aside some 10 million frs CFA (about 20 US Dollars) for the construction of four toilets as specimens that will take into consideration MHM”, Mveimba Oumarou, First Deputy Mayor of Ntui declared.

UN Women Cameroon with financial assistance from the Water Supply and Collaborative Council (WSSCC) has already assisted the Councils of Meyomessala, Batchenga, Ntui, Edea and Idenau to integrate MHM in their current 2017 local development plans and communal budgets.