South Africa: SCA and WSSCC Partner to Break Silence around Menstruation

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WaterSan Perspective and WSSCC
November 18, 2014

SCA, a leading global hygiene and forest products company, and the Geneva-based Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), a United Nations body devoted solely to the sanitation and hygiene needs of vulnerable and marginalized people, have entered into an innovative new partnership to break the silence around menstruation for women and girls around the world.

SCA and WSSCC will jointly work to educate on menstrual issues and the importance of good hygiene.

The parties announced the partnership in Cape Town, South Africa, in connection with Team SCA’s first stop-over in the Volvo Ocean Race round the world competition.

SCA and WSSCC menstrual hygiene training with young girls from the townships of Khayelitsha and Gugaletu. On any given day, more than 800 million women between the ages of 15-49 are menstruating. Adequate and appropriate sanitation and hygiene facilities can provide a comfortable space for them to manage their menstruation with privacy and dignity
SCA and WSSCC menstrual hygiene training with young girls from the townships of Khayelitsha and Gugaletu. On any given day, more than 800 million women between the ages of 15-49 are menstruating. Adequate and appropriate sanitation and hygiene facilities can provide a comfortable space for them to manage their menstruation with privacy and dignity

During the Cape Town stop-over, Team SCA attended a menstrual hygiene workshop with girls and women from the townships of Khayelitsha and Gugaletu, where experts from WSSCC, the Volunteer Centre (a Cape Town NGO), and SCA led a training session and discussion of the challenges the women face in managing their periods.

The partnership will include actions during, and between, the race stopovers until June 2015. These include Brazil (Itajai), China (Sanya), New Zealand (Auckland), Portugal (Lisbon), South Africa (Cape Town), Sweden (Gothenburg), The Netherlands (The Hague), United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi) and the USA (Newport).

“Safe and hygienic menstruation is a basic human right and fundamental to women’s equality,” said Chris Williams, executive director of WSSCC. “Securing this right requires action at every level of society, from the girls and women of Khayelitsha and Gugaletu to multinational companies like SCA. I am proud that SCA has stepped up to the challenge, and I look forward to working closely with them to continue breaking the silence around menstruation.”

“A majority of adolescent girls and women in the world do not have access to adequate information about menstruation nor access to sanitation or hygiene products,” said Jan Johansson, President and CEO of SCA. “With the WSSCC partnership SCA aims to break the menstrual taboos that jeopardize the health of millions of women every day, raise the awareness of menstrual hygiene and empower women and communities to take action, as menstruation should not hold women back to participate fully in society socially, educationally and professionally.”

SCA and WSSCC menstrual hygiene training with young girls from the townships of Khayelitsha and Gugaletu. One school study in Ethiopia reported over 50% of girls missing between one and four days of school per month due to menstruation
SCA and WSSCC menstrual hygiene training with young girls from the townships of Khayelitsha and Gugaletu. One school study in Ethiopia reported over 50% of girls missing between one and four days of school per month due to menstruation

In many developing countries, millions of women and girls are left to manage their periods with solutions at hand, such as cloth, paper or clay and no access to private toilets, water or soap. Sanitary products like pads are unaffordable or simply unavailable, and urinary or reproductive tract infections are common. As a result, girls miss valuable days in school, and women are unable to work, stifling productivity and advancement.

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