Training helps increase awareness of menstruation hygiene in Benin


Community event on good hygienic menstrual management in Benin

Puberty can be a frightening and confusing time for any girl, especially when the topic is considered taboo. Fortunately, one program in Parakou, Benin is trying to change that.

From February 27 to March 3, a Cuso International partner implemented a micro-project where women and men learned about menstruation and safe sexual intimacy and women learned how to make reusable menstruation products. The program helped break menstruation stereotypes in the community.

Called gestion de l’hygiène menstruelle des dolescentes et jeunes filles de Parakou (The management of menstruation hygiene for young girls of Parakou), the program delivered training to 33 women and 30 men in a workshop format led by Association pour l’Education, la Sexualité et la Santé en Afrique.

Rosius Dannou, program officer at Cuso International’s Benin office, explained the importance of men being included in these trainings. “We want to bring down toxic masculinity and have the men support the women and girls of our country,” said Dannou. Having men learn about their partners’ health helps break down negative stereotypes associated with menstruation.

Thanks to the help of Cuso International volunteers, women were taught how to make their own reusable pads using cloths and how to properly clean them. They were also taught how to make and use menstruation cycle beads, which are used to count and track the days of the menstruation cycle.

Community event on good hygienic menstrual management in Benin4Participants brought their new knowledge to others in their community. “It was a great event, and I learned a lot of new information,” said participant Bougnon Bénon. “I will now make sure to teach my boys about women’s health.”

The training was supported by Cuso International’s Sharing Canadian Expertise for Inclusive Development and Gender Equality (SHARE) project, which aims to raise awareness of sexual, reproductive, and maternal health, sexual and gender-based violence, and positive masculinity.

With such success, Rosius hopes to bring new events next year to help Benin communities continue to grow.

“We hope to continue promoting positive masculinity in the community and bring more workshops with the help of Cuso International,” explains Rosius. This program is a great example of how education and awareness break down societal taboos and promote equality.

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