Among the many activities carried out in Somalia CISP is today implementing, with the support of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, a project which aims to guarantee access to essential emergency health and hygiene services for the population affected by the crisis in the districts of Hobyo, Gelinsor and Dusmareb in the region of Galmudug.
While our colleagues were developing the project, a particular need arose: according to local school administrations, over 10% of girls regularly skip school 3 or 4 days a month during their period, thus missing important lessons and exams. This too is a problem linked to extreme poverty: in the Galmudug region, girls from the most vulnerable communities cannot afford the cost of sanitary towels and it is difficult for them to attend school lessons during periods.
Among the actions aimed at supporting women and girls from marginalized communities in Somalia, we have therefore also included the distribution of sanitary towels to female students. This helps keeping girls in school, thus improving their learning opportunities.
"Girls used to rush home when they suddenly noticed menstruation in class. Now we don't need to go home and can attend school normally. Furthermore, we have a mentor who advises us on period issues. We are happy to have this kind of support at school,"
said Fadumo, a student at one of the schools participating in the program.
Asha, tutor in one of the schools where the hygiene kits have been distributed, said:
“As you know, menstrual hygiene is a problem for vulnerable women and girls who cannot afford to buy pads and have to stay at home during their periods. Providing them with hygiene kits to promote their hygiene and school attendance is a great initiative ".
CISP started operating in Somalia in 1983, with a basic health care project implemented in the Medio Giuba region, south of the country. Even during the civil war, which is still ongoing, CISP has continued to operate in Somalia and has currently expanded its presence in different regions of the country working in collaboration with local organizations and the government.