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Uganda Youth Skills Training Organisation

PERIOD Empowerment Network

The idea that menstruation is dirty, shameful and unmentionable keeps girls and women away from school and out of work. A woman without access to sanitary products may have to stay at home during her periods, or risks losing her job for getting off to change her pad, provided there are facilities for her to manage her menstruation at all. Even women working in office environments and girls in schools with convenient facilities, go to great lengths to hide periods.

PERIOD Empowerment Network, herein referred to as "PEN" seeks to improve youth knowledge, skills, and attitudes about menstrual health and hygiene, and increase awareness about the body, relationships, sexual practices, sexuality, etc. PEN is a unique and powerful menstruation education project in empowering young people and building their capacities to continuously learn and raise awareness about menstrual health and hygiene and advocate for menstruation education.

PEN contributes to the follow-up of the European Union Gender Action Plan, Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment. The EU aims at a world where the rights of girls and women are claimed, valued and respected by all. Further, PEN aims to re-educate our societies about menstruation, re-frame its purpose and allow women to be women without any stigma.

According to world migration report 2018, 244 million migrants 48% are female; who neither have access to basic facilities, nor can they afford the ready-made sanitary pads, besides the fact that they know very little about menstrual hygiene. Further, nearly 1 in 3 girls continue to marry as a teenager in many parts of the developing world. Early marriage is encouraged by various cultures, where puberty and menarche are considered as time of transition to adulthood. Girls reaching this biological threshold means becoming eligible for marriage, regardless of age.

In partner countries, baseline data revealed that 296 (74%) and 104 (26%) of women had good and poor knowledge of menstrual hygiene management, respectively. Over 2/3 (67.8%) were aware about menstruation before menarche. In the least developed countries, 35% of girls use commercial disposable sanitary pads which are not disposed properly, the remaining proportion uses different materials such as pieces of old clothes, goatskin, holes, or nothing. in Uganda there is one toilet for every 600 students.

PEN recognizes the crucial role non-formal education, integrated into the European policies in the fields of education, training and youth plays in building peaceful communities, and addressing challenges of social, cultural, economic and political nature, through values and skills in the spirit of tolerance and mutual appreciation among individuals, and cultures. PEN explores such opportunities to equip youth workers with competences and methods for transferring menstrual health and hygiene knowledge, skills and attitudes to youth and thereby, challenge the myths, stigma and taboos around menstruation and periods

PEN project is funded by Erasmus + and coordonated by an organization called Terram Pacis based in Norway https://www.terrampacis.org/ with different partners of organizations https://www.terrampacis.org/projects/current-projects/period-empowerment-network-117.html from different countries all over the world.

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