The Kenyan contingent, operating within the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) from Sector II in Dhobley, collaborated with the Dhobley Community Based Organization (CBO) to commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child. Their focus was on educating female students at Dhobley Primary School about Menstrual Health and Hygiene, mental health, and substance abuse during the awareness campaign held on Wednesday 11th October 2023, in Dhobley Town, Lower Juba.
The International Day of the Girl Child is observed worldwide on 11th October every year to raise awareness about gender inequality and to advocate for girls’ rights and empowerment.
Major Ruth Omedi, the Sector II Gender Officer, emphasized the significance of educating the girl child on health hygiene and mental health and substance abuse, highlighting the importance of the rights of the girl child in the process of growing up.
“The main reason we are here is to talk to the girls about health hygiene, mental health, and substance abuse. We specifically chose health during their teenage stage because health is the only wealth that these girls have at this particular stage. Today, as we mark this day, it’s our mandate as ATMIS to ensure the empowerment of girls, as well as women and the youth,” said the Gender Officer.
Captain Janet Chebet, a Public Health Officer (PHO) at Dhobley Level II Hospital, stressed the importance of health hygiene, as it helps reduce the risk of infections and illnesses, contributing to personal and community health, fostering a safer and more productive environment for the girls.
“The girls are now informed about menstrual health and they are also informed about general hygiene and sanitation,” stated the Public health Officer.
Dhobley District Women’s Association member Mrs. Naim Mohamed expressed satisfaction in how Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) troops have shown consistent effort in educating the girls at a timely hour.
“I’m happy to be a part of this program since it is good for teenage girls to receive lessons about personal hygiene and consultations on mental health. As it is related women, we can gladly ask ATMIS to conduct similar programs in future,” said Naim Mohamed.
This education fosters a sense of empowerment, allowing girls to navigate this aspect of their lives with dignity and without unnecessary challenges. It also plays a crucial role in breaking down societal stigmas surrounding menstruation, promoting a healthier and more informed community.