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Monrovia, 10 June 2021- “I am here to express my solidarity with women and girls; especially those living with disabilities to lead and guide them in advancing their menstrual hygiene as they grow unto [becoming] productive ladies for tomorrow.” Says H.E Clar Marie Weah, First Lady of the Republic of Liberia as she launches her She’s You Menstrual & Personal Hygiene Initiative on 09 June  in Monrovia.

Mrs. Weah who accompanied by her husband, Dr. George M. Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, said although menstruating in dignity is part of the fundamental rights of girls and women who constitute half Liberia’s population, the ability to manage their menstruation is influenced by a broader gender inequality including discriminatory societal norms; especially for women and girls living with disabilities.

First Lady Clar Marie Weah and President George M. Weah
© UNFPA Liberia/Calixte S. Hessou

“In fact, in many corners of our Liberian society, speaking of menstruation is a taboo, a forbidden conversation which leads to the detriment of many young girls. Today we want to positively and constructively raise the bar; bringing this conversation out in the open to the cognizance and awareness of all of us;” says the Liberian First Lady.

According to Mrs. Weah, her She’s You Menstrual & Personal Hygiene Initiative will work to improve education and information about menstrual hygiene and safe practices and provide vulnerable women and girls with locally mad sanitary pads to help mitigate their suffering during menstruation.

The Liberian First Lady who is also the founder of the Clar Hope Foundation and the “She’s You Movement” in Liberia said her movement would establish a “She’s You Girls’ Health Clubs” in schools and communities across the country to tell the nation that a “period should end a sentence and not a girl’s education.”

Three young panelists who shared their respective experience with their peers at the launch of the “She’s You Menstrual & Personal Hygiene” by Mrs. Weah spoke of some of the challenges they encountered earlier in life regarding the management of their menstruation as lack of information, limited access to sanitary pads, exclusion from public life, and even life-threatening neglect.

(L-R) Fatu R. Farkollie, Orfina Foday and Rosetta Fardolo of a local girls peer
education, group, Community Health Initiative speak of challenges many women and
girls in Liberia face monthly in managing their menstruation. 
© UNFPA Liberia/Calixte S. Hessou

Meanwhile, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has pledged to support the First Lady’s “She’s You Menstrual & Personal Hygiene Initiative” in the Southeast of Liberia where the Fund current support programme to meet the sexual and reproductive health and rights including family planning needs of adolescents and young people in six hard-to-reach counties including Grand Gedeh, Rivergee, Maryland, Grand Kru, Sinoe and Rivercess.

“Ending the stigma surrounding menstruation and women’s bodies and firmly establishing women’s reproductive and menstrual health as vital health interventions are central to UNFPA’s mandate. In addition to providing women with menstrual supplies and safe sanitation facilities, UNFPA will also work to improve education and information about menstruation and related human rights concerns for girls and boys in Liberia; dispelling dangerous myths about periods,” says Dr. Bannet Ndyanabangi, UNFPA Liberia Representative.

Already, UNFPA has supported the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Education for the inclusion of Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in all subjects covering primary and secondary schools’ curricula. The UN sexual and reproductive health agency is also supporting the delivery of gender-sensitive, age-appropriate, and life skills-based Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) to both in and out of school adolescents throughout the country.

The launch of the “She’s You Menstrual & Personal Hygiene Initiative” by the First Lady also coincides with Liberia’s celebration of World Menstrual Hygiene Day.