Louise is part of WoMena’s communications team and last month she visited the WoMena office in Kampala. Here are some reflections from her experience with our team in Uganda:
On my first day at the WoMena office, I participated in the team’s weekly meeting in which the team shares updates on projects and activities. It was amazing to take part in and listen to all the activities that WoMena does. There were updates on a partnership with the Icelandic Embassy in Buikwe, a Cup Summit in Nairobi at which Anna G and Shamirah discussed a potential cup coalition with different partners from East Africa and of course we planned Stijn’s arrival which is one the main reasons I came to Kampala.
After the meeting, I went with WoMena trainer, Diana to AFRIpads office and participated in a training for trainers workshop for participants from AFRIpads and an organization called Fields of Dreams. The aim of the “Training for Trainers” workshops is to educate representatives from local communities and organizations to be able to teach school girls about menstruation and health. During the workshop, Diana taught about the menstrual cycle, how to track your period, and demonstrated how to use and clean the AFRIpad and relieve menstrual pain. We also discussed various myths and taboos around menstruation, and I realised, how easy myths and taboos can influence the way people would perceive menstruation, and ultimately, girls behaviours and lives in the local communities.
It was a very special day, when we welcomed Stijn van Parys to the WoMena office, after he had been cycling for 7 months from Belgium to Kampala. Stijn has dedicated his journey to the empowerment of women and girls in Uganda through menstrual education and he has proudly been wearing the WoMena t-shirt on his way. Stijn’s visit placed a special emphasis on the importance of male involvement when discussing menstrual health.
Stijn participated in different activities together with WoMena during the week, and I followed closely. Among others, Stijn, Diana and I went to the local market to talk to men about menstrual health and the menstrual cup, and the highlight of the week, was the “cycling for cycles” campaign taking place at the orphanage, M-Lisada. Firstly, WoMena trainer, Shamirah, gave a session on reproductive health to the residential teens and later, Stijn and Ultimate Cycling Uganda gave a biking session for close to 70 kids from the orphanage.
Some of my biggest takeaways from the week, is how menstrual health really is a topic that has an influence on everyone, men and women, boys and girls. I was overly impressed by seeing Shamirah and Diana doing their trainings, and how they successfully create a safe space for participants, teenagers and adults, to share their questions and concerns.
I hope you will enjoy the photos, as much as I enjoyed my work with WoMena!
Louise holds an MSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication and works as a project manager for the VELUX Endowed Chair in Corporate Sustainability and UN PRME at Copenhagen Business School. Louise has been a volunteer for WoMena since 2016 and is based in Denmark.