The Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) together with 7 of its members namely Faith Ministries, Faith in God Church, Assemblies of God Church, Jabula New Life Ministries, ZAOGA, Jesus Power Christian Ministries and The Apostles Church as well as the Harare Provincial Women Committee joined to commemorate the World Menstrual Hygiene Day at Chikurubi maximum female prison on the 28th of May 2018.
The menstrual hygiene day also known as the menstrual health day is an annual awareness day, which aims to highlight the importance of good menstrual hygiene management and is meant to benefit women and girls worldwide. The day is commemorated on May 28 of each year since 2014 when it was initiated by the German-based NGO WASH United.
The objectives of menstrual hygiene include:
- To address the challenges and hardships many women and girls face during their menstruation.
- To highlight the positive and innovation solutions being taken to address these challenges.
- To catalyse a growing, global movement that recognizes and supports girls and women's rights and build partnerships among those partners on national and local level.
- To engage in policy dialogue and actively advocate for the integration of menstrual global, national and local policies, programmes and projects.
The theme for 2018 menstrual hygiene day is Empowerment. While the issue of menstrual health does not have a specific SDG, it fits well in Goal number 5: Achieving gender equality and empower all women and girls.
The commemorations were held with an aim to empower the female prisoners by educating them on issues of menstrual health, preaching the word of hope as well as providing them with hygiene packs to use during menstruation. The EFZ Secretariat and the Churches involved managed to gather resources to distribute to the inmates such sanitary pads, pants, bath towels, soap, Vaseline, baby clothes, sugar, slippers, disinfections, toilet paper, blankets, tooth brushes and tooth paste which had a value of $1500.00. Precious Pearls was of great assistance by donating reusable pads and hygiene packs. Other individuals like Dr Grace Taruvinga and Thobekile Ncube partnered with EFZ to make the day a success. The inmates were also blessed with a lunch on the day.
A total of 101 inmates benefited from the donations and the event was attended by Swedish Embassy, Canadian Embassy, Dutch Embassy, Zimbabwe Prison Correctional Service (ZPCS), Female Prison Support Trust (FEMPRIST), Southern Africa Trust (SAT) and Women on Fire. The ZPCS represented by the Deputy Commissioner General Mrs Mupure expressed her gratitude and testified that it was the first time the Prison had people coming to celebrate the day with them.
It was a day to remember as the inmates were taught on menstrual hygiene, encouraged from the word of God, prayer for, celebrated the love of God through song and dance as well as fellowshipped with food and drink.
As EFZ seeks to impact the nation in all aspects of life, showing love, care and concern for those in prison illustrates how the church promote life with dignity to all regardless of gender, religion or political affiliation. EFZ pledged to lift the flag of the menstrual hygiene day that is aimed at helping women on menstrual hygiene management and carry the SDGs mantra of “leaving no one behind”.