Partners For Conservation is pleased to announce that So Others Are Protected our USA based partner has won for us a grant from the Davis Foundation for Peace, to support our Public Health Programme through“: Managing Social And Gender Based Violence Through Menstruation Health Management Project.  

The project overall objective is to address issues susceptible to hamper peace and stability. This time the project focusses on eradicating menstruation based isolations, stigma and other stereotypes that are affecting women’s socio-economic integration. The project proposes to educate women from Vulnerable, disadvantaged and Historically Marginalised People about peace and stability principles and how it can be affected by Public Health issues such as menstruation and other health issues such as communicative and non-communicative diseases, early marriage, water, sanitation and hygiene etc. It’s anticipated that such knowledge, skills and capacity will open opportunities for target women’s involvement in decision making processes at the family and community levels, important assets to ensure stable and peaceful families in particular and the nation in general.

Historically Marginalised People have been marginalized since pre-colonial times and furthermore in post-colonial times (1970’s) they suffered a result of all–informed and short-sighted decisions during the creation of national parks in Rwanda. Evicted from the forests during the creation of the national parks, the HMP are among the poorest communities in a poverty-stricken area where land is difficult to come by, as it also happens to be the most densely populated region of Africa. Without compensation, no access to land nor any available public services, they have suffered extreme deprivation.

As forest dwellers and fruit gatherers, many researches state that Historically Marginalised People’s living conditions represent a huge threat to the park integrity because they have always been depending on the park natural resources to survive or sell.

Lack of economic means, Historically Marginalised People have always been isolated and neglected by the rest of the communities which has made hard their socio-economic integration, for years.

Worldwide likewise in Rwanda, menstruation affects half of the world population once per month. Still, for many women and girls the monthly bleeding poses big problems especially to those from low-income families with limited access to suitable products, sanitation and painkillers thus effective and hygienic materials like pads; tampons or menstrual medicaments are not affordable. This implies that in many cases these women rely on alternative materials that are mostly uncomfortable, not hygienic and not sufficient, like pieces of fabric, leaves or toilet paper.   But not only the fact that menstrual health products are not affordable for many people, also stereotypes, taboos and myths are big problems for girls and women. In many societies girls and women who are in menstruation are seen as not clean and face restrictions which; limits their participative role in financial life of their communities.

Thanks to this grant, we have secured 10 sewing machines. The project targets 135 beneficiaries including 125 women and 10 men from Nyange sector of Musanze district, in the Northern province of Rwanda. For a smooth training environment, the project management has formed 5 groups of 27 trainees.

The training involves theoretical and practical sessions. And additionally to introduction to Peace and stability, the project will educate women about their bodies and menstruation, raising their awareness about myths and taboos whereas the secondary aim is to providing women with necessary skills and means to make for themselves alternative and disposable sanitary pads in form of reusable pads by teaching them on how to make them using raw materials available on the local markets, as part of PFC’s Public Health programme. The training will also accommodate other aspect such as Peace

Once more, we’re very grateful to the Davis Funds for Peace, another big thank you also goes to So Others Are Protected and its Founder Miss Sydney Kamen for winning this grant for us.

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