First Lady to expand menstrual hygiene initiative to assist vulnerable women


The Office of the First Lady is supplying over 32,000 girls with feminine hygiene products through the Menstrual Hygiene Initiative, conceptualised by First Lady Mrs Arya Ali and on Monday, the First Lady announced that the project will expand to also supply women with the products to end period poverty.

She said the coverage will target women in vulnerable situations. The announcement was made during a presentation at the Umana Yana, Georgetown where the First Ladies of St Kitts and Nevis, Diani Prince-Drew; St Vincent and the Grenadines, Eloise Gonsalves and The Bahamas, Ann Marie Davis, were among the special invitees in attendance.

“Our attention is shifting to providing coverage for women, beginning with those in highly vulnerable situations like those in institutional care.

“My goal is to gradually expand coverage as more funding become available so that we are able to eventually provide coverage for every woman and girl in Guyana,” Mrs Ali said.

(L-R): First Lady of St Kitts and Nevis, Mrs Diani Prince-Drew , First Lady of the Bahamas,  Mrs Ann Marie Davis, First Lady of Guyana Mrs Arya Ali and First Lady of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Mrs Eloise Gonsalves. (Photo: News Room/ February 26, 2024)

She said investing in these initiatives to help girls to manage their menstruation safely is economically wise because more girls will be able to attend school.

The United Nations Populated Fund, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and other sponsors assist with providing these much-needed products to schoolgirls. This guarantees a better education and livelihoods for these girls.

China’s Ambassador to Guyana, Guo Haiyan, is also a major sponsor for the initiative. And in 2022, the Government of Guyana allocated $50 million in the national budget for the programme.

The seriousness of this initiative is backed by data which provides that 84 per cent of 4,309 girls miss school during the days they are menstruating and 26 per cent of the girls cannot afford the sanitary products, which means they use substituted products.

Girls in attendance at the presentation.

These schoolgirls are less confident to attend school when they have to resort to these unhygienic products. The First Lady said corporate sponsors can assist with ending period poverty by being part of the initiative, making Guyana the first country in Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region to do so.

According to Education Minister Priya Manickchand, the impact a girl’s menstrual cycle plays in her daily activities must be better understood. She said the circumstances girls face are sometimes negatively impacted because they do not get makeup tests when missed.

“In Guyana, the research says that girls are prevented from doing things, participating in family activities, sports, regular daily activities even as some are forced to do those activities like sports and PE, Agriculture without an understanding how the period can affect those activities, without being given make up tests,” the minister said.

She added, “This has brought us this universal application of delivering sanitary products both by the government and partners, has brought us to a place where Guyana will see a new generation of persons talking about the issue of menstruation openly and acknowledging what the consequences of menstruation are and addressing those sensibly.”

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.