Malaysian programme tackles period poverty and reproductive health education

  • Family
  • Thursday, 22 Feb 2024

Nancy (seated, fourth from left) at the launch of the partnership between the Ministry and Kotex Malaysia in Kuching, recently. — Photos:Kotex Malaysia

IN A bid to tackle period poverty among young women, the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and feminine hygiene brand Kotex have come together under a project to reach 600,000 girls aged 13 to 17 for a comprehensive menstrual hygiene and reproductive health education.

The programme, called “Kasih Remaja: Sihat & Selamat” (Teen Love: Healthy & Safe) aims to tackle period poverty, the stigma surrounding menstruation, break down taboos and foster resilient well-being.

The initiative will be supported by the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN) and the National Welfare Foundation (YKN).

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said the partnership is important and tackling period poverty isn’t limited to supplying menstrual products.

“Empowering girls with access to proper menstrual hygiene tools is also a matter of dignity, confidence and unlocking their full potential. This initiative complements the work the Ministry has been doing through the programme, which also includes advocacy on sexual harassment and child rights, among others,” she said during the launch in Kuching, Sarawak, recently.

Nancy said ultimately, the goal is to build a generation of resilient young girls and the Ministry welcomes partnerships with companies to extend these efforts.

“It’s a step towards creating a generation of girls who are uninhibited by period stigma and ready to lead,” she said.

There is a need to empower young women and this starts with eliminating period poverty. — Photos:Kotex MalaysiaThere is a need to empower young women and this starts with eliminating period poverty. — Photos:Kotex Malaysia

Kimberly-Clark Malaysia managing director Lim Yu Chien says more than essential resources, the project is also fostering open conversations about menstruation to create a society where period stigma does not exist.

“This is a critical cause for the future generation, so we’re thankful to the Ministry for allowing us this partnership,” he said.

Under the programme, Kotex will use its “She Can” education module that focuses on a wide range of topics such as puberty, period cycle, reproductive system and body rights. The culturally-appropriate educational material will be distributed together with a Confidence Kit.

By reaching 600,000 girls over the next three years, the partnership hopes to empower a generation of informed young women who will become agents of change that will challenge societal taboos surrounding period for a more inclusive environment.

“We look forward to a future where period stigma is just a forgotten relic of the past,” Lim said.

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