Tai was privileged to take part in Innovation Week which was held from 21st to 26th of May 2018, at Costech Sayansi. Motive of which was to bring together innovators who use technology and education to help and bring positive change to the society. Tai provided HDIF with eight volunteers who helped them coordinate the Innovation Week.

Tai attended Innovation Week from 24th to 26th of May. On Thursday 24th we displayed our Jali Pads project, an upcoming project that will deal with the production of reusable sanitary pads. The guest where very impressed and a lot of them demanded a sample of our reusable pads.

On the 25th, Friday, was our main event. We filled our all-day event with two sessions: the morning was dedicated to students from Urafiki Secondary School (form two class). For our essay competition the students had written about “Male involvement in menstrual hygiene“, and we then announced the best three essays and read them out to the audience. After that we had a debate on “Male involvement in menstrual hygiene management“. The motive of having students discussing the topic was to increase awareness of the importance of MHM to both men and women and especially male support on the topic starting at an early age.

We then watched the first episode of Harakati za Lucy, which caught a lot of attention and made our guests interested to wait for the second episode. Then after, a guest student speaker from the initiative Apps for Girls, named Fatma, who had also participated in the Innovation Week and created an MHM website, gave her inspirational speech to the audience …”we started the website since we feel the need of helping the students who have no one to talk to or feel shy or uneasy to ask elders. Our website connects them directly to doctors and other health professionals….” We then had a recap and got an amazing feedback which gave us positive energy to start our second session.

At the beginning of the afternoon session we showed the second episode of Harakati za Lucy, which shows situations in which men can be accounted directly to increase awareness on menstrual hygiene so as to bring about equality between a girl and a boy child, assisting a girl student to stay at school.

The screening of the episode was followed by a panel discussion on MHM. Our panelists were Dr. Linda from Muhimbili National Hospital, Badru Abraham from YUNA, Khalila Kellz Mbowe and Anna Lushiku from Unleashed Africa, Leonie and Asimwe from Tai Tanzania.  The most striking quote from the panel was: “… we tend to help after the damage is done, but we should focus on preventing, many issues could be prevented by proper MHM training or good sanitation facilities so that later on we don’t have to cure diseases coming from improper MHM….” (Dr.Linda).

The panel discussion was followed by a dialogue with the audience who gave out awesome comments and ideas. One guest, a sociologist said advocating is one thing but the language used to pass the massage is another important aspect of reaching out a person who has been practicing that for more than 30 to 50 years.

Shamsa Suleiman from US Aid answered to the question by the MC that we haven’t failed in promoting MHM, but that it takes a lot of time and commitment to change the issue and that the community has to work together on progressing further.

That marked the end of the event, and the word of appreciation to the audience and attendees was given by the event coordinator from Tai named Halima Nauma followed by a great evening tea, snacks and chats.

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