Japan assistance to improve menstrual hygiene in camps

By Trouble Ziba

The $1.25 million (over MK910 million) Japan has provided for Malawi’s response to emergency needsis expected toimprove menstrual hygiene of women and girls living in camps in the flood-affected districts.

Some quarters have named menstrual hygiene as the most undermined need among survivors of disasters like floods that are currently in the camps.

The Government of Japan has provided USD 1.25 million to be used to respond to emergency needs in Malawi following floods that wrecked havoc to 860,000 people in the country’s 15 districts.

The assistance has been provided through World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF.

WFP will use the assistance to support immediate food and cash-based transfer to flood-affected population and early recovery efforts while UNICEF will support child protection and menstrual hygiene.

According to the press statement dated April 23, 2019 made available to Malawi News Agency by UNICEF-Malawi Communications Officer, Lulutani Tembo, the contribution to UNICEF will support child protection and menstrual hygiene measures in camps and communities.

In support of the Government-led response, WFP alone is targeting 414,000 people with food and cash assistance.

Japan’s assistance follows her immediate response of provision of non-food items (NFIs) such as tents and blankets that arrived on March 22, this year (2019).

“I wish this contribution will be effectively managed by WFP and UNICEF to facilitate early recovery of the affected population.

“Japan is also a disaster prone country, hence we understand how people, especially vulnerable groups including women, girls and children, suffer from disasters when they are not prepared,” said the Japanese Ambassador to Malawi, Her Excellency Kae Yanagisawa as quoted by the press statement.

Both UNICEF and WFP have expressed their gratitude to the Government of Japan for the assistance given to Malawi flood survivors through them.

“We hope to further strengthen our partnership with Japan and make joint efforts towards achieving zero hunger,” the WFP Malawi Country Director, Benoit Thiry is quoted as saying in the statement.

Japan’s support includes $250,000 (over K182 million) towards UNICEF’s programme. The UN agency plans to reach 14,000 children through child friendly spaces in evacuation camps.

It will also provide menstrual hygiene management supplies for 6,000 adolescent girls and women.

“These measures are necessary to address heightened vulnerabilities for displaced children in the evacuation sites and as they return to their communities,” says the press statement.

According to UNICEF-Malawi Representative Johannes Wedenig, during emergency, the agency’s priority is to help children and families who have lost their homes and are living in evacuation centres or with other families in their communities.

“In these situations, children and especially adolescent girls face increased risks, including risk of trafficking and gender-based violence.

“The new funding from Japan will allow us to scale up our response to protect children and adolescent girls,” Wedenig is quoted as saying in the press statement.

Recently, Malawi’s Ombudsman, Martha Chizuma released a statement, saying despite different forms of assistance being given to flood survivors in camps, about 5, 000 women were in need of sanitary pads which are essential items in menstrual hygiene.

“I managed to visit two camps in Chikwawa and three in Nsanje. The total number of women between the ages of 15 to 50 could not be less than 5, 000.

“Nsanje alone has 42 camps and more organizations need to come to the rescue of people in the area,” Chizuma was quoted as saying in the statement.

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