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Promoting the menstrual health and hygiene of girls and women is vital to their empowerment and wellbeing. According to a 2021 World Bank report, an estimated 500 million women and girls around the world, lack access to menstrual products and adequate facilities for ensure their own menstrual hygiene.

In most rural communities in The Gambia, menstruation is a sign of readiness for marriage for adolescent girls. This keeps girls out of school due to fear of being period shamed because of inadequate access to menstrual hygiene products.

In commemoration of Menstrual Hygiene Day 2022, UNFPA in partnership with the Ministry of Gender and the Menstrual Hygiene Coalition of The Gambia organised a symposium to foster conversations with adolescent girls and boys on the need to end period shaming. The symposium also provided an opportunity to highlight the significance of ensuring unlimited availability of Menstrual Health and Hygiene products for adolescent girls to ensure that they do not miss school while on their periods.

Speaking at the event, the Honourable Minister of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Madam Fatou Kinteh, reiterated her office’s commitment to further explore solutions to the gendered impact of pad poverty and period shaming in Gambian communities.

According to the UNFPA Country Representative, Ms. Ndeye Rose Sarr, “investing in the production and distribution of menstrual pads for girls across The Gambia will significantly contribute to the retention of girls on schools and increase their chances of reaching their potentials.

Ensuring the menstrual health and hygiene of girls and women continues to be a key priority for UNFPA as it will have a positive implication on sexual and reproductive health outcomes at national level.



Media contact: Faith C. Ememodo – UNV Communications Associate