Polycom’s Mentors Changing Kibera through Menstrual Hygiene Education

Walking into Polycom’s offices is like stepping into a gallery of vibrant and colorful artistry. Venture further into the workspace, and you’ll encounter a group of elegantly branded young men and women, affectionately known as mentors, as they gear up for their school visits. These mentors have embraced the mantle of change, dedicating themselves to educating young minds like their own on dismantling the walls of period shame. Amidst the narrow alleyways of the urban informal settlements, the Polycom Girls, through its mentors, emerges as a beacon of progress and transformation. Armed with a profound grasp of the impact of menstrual hygiene on their community, Polycom has embarked on a crucial mission of eradicating period shaming through education and empowerment.

At the heart of their mission, Polycom’s mentors work tirelessly to educate girls and young women about the essential practices and measures for maintaining cleanliness, comfort, and health during menstruation. They recognize that proper menstrual hygiene transcends physical well-beings about enabling menstruating women and girls to embrace their daily lives without disruptions or shame.

Operating within 50 schools, the Polycom team ensures the effective transmission of proper menstrual hygiene practices. They stress the importance of correct sanitary pad usage for managing menstrual flow, allowing girls to confidently stay in school without hindrance. Beyond this, the girls receive education on the significance of regular pad changes to prevent discomfort and leakage. Equally critical is the responsible disposal of used products to safeguard the environment and prevent infections.

Furthermore, the mentors instill the value of personal hygiene, underscoring the importance of handwashing before and after changing products and advocating for cleanliness through regular showers. Recognizing the pivotal role of access to clean sanitation facilities, Polycom goes the extra mile by supplying soap to schools, cultivating an environment where proper hygiene thrives.

Polycom also addresses the often-overlooked aspect of inner clothing. They empower girls with the knowledge to choose comfortable and appropriate attire during their periods to avert staining and discomfort. Nevertheless, a challenge persists; the scarcity of sufficient underwear for girls to wear throughout their menstrual cycles. Many of these young women make do with a mere two pairs of underwear for their entire cycle.

Yet, Polycom’s impact extends beyond education. In this journey of learning and unlearning, girls are emboldened to challenge cultural norms and societal beliefs that breed stigma and shame around menstruation. The organization recognizes the significance of collaboration, stepping in to support those in need. Through partnerships with health centers within the urban informal settlements, Polycom addresses issues of severe pain, heavy bleeding, or unusual symptoms during menstruation, ensuring that those requiring medical attention receive it.

The essence of Polycom’s mission lies in understanding that menstrual hygiene encompasses more than just physical health, it’s a pivotal stride towards achieving gender equality. By dismantling the barriers obstructing education, work, and daily activities, Polycom cultivates a world where women and girls thrive devoid of fear or shame.

Polycom’s inspiring journey and the lives they touch is a wake-up call to all of us to embrace our unique roles to address menstrual hygiene and other pertinent issues as a declaration of empowerment and a catalyst for transformation. Together, we can tear down the walls of period shaming and other barriers to development and construct a society where every woman stands tall, embracing her womanhood with dignity and pride.