Break the Stigma: Promoting a Sustainable Period in the Federated States of Micronesia

Girl holding photo frame with the caption "Break the stigma"

All over the world, girls face many challenges related to menstrual hygiene management that may negatively impact their education. Personally, I have missed school days and skipped classes to go to the clinic because of extreme period pain.

During one exam, I asked my teacher if I could go to the school clinic and finish my exam there. Fortunately, he agreed. My handwriting was so terrible because I couldn't really focus with the pain I felt. I was glad that I even passed that exam. I truly believe that I would have been able to achieve more academically, and even in life in general, if I didn't have to face such challenges related to menstruation.

In the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), girls have been reported to skip school due to their menstrual hygiene needs not being met. One initiative to address this challenge is focused on increasing the supply of reusable sanitary pads. By making these pads available, we hope that Micronesian girls will no longer have to miss school during their period.

Along with the reusable sanitary pads, UNICEF North Pacific is initiating the translation of the Menstrual Hygiene Handbook in the local languages of the Federated States of Micronesia. With a version addressed to girls and another one to boys, the Menstrual Hygiene Handbook discusses the importance of menstrual hygiene management practices and how to break the taboos and stigmas surrounding menstruation.

I am fortunate that as a youth, I am part of this initiative and am able to advocate for improving girls' menstrual hygiene and health.