Five students from the Sciences Po Paris University are looking to break the taboo surrounding menstruation in Morocco this year.
The students, from France, Tunisia, Morocco and Turkey, are preparing to conduct an awareness campaign called “Be Happih” this weekend, seeking to raise awareness about intimate hygiene.
The project, led by Charles Culioli, Walid Ben Hamadi, Moez Rais, Rita Sekkat and Denizalp Goktas, also focuses on the theme of support for vulnerable children in Morocco, the issues affecting young girls and the multiple obstacles to their education and emancipation. The project is integrated “into the goals announced by the country and is linked to gender equality and human development in the poor areas.”
The students’ initiative will also see washable sanitary towel kits being distributed to girls in a boarding school south of Marrakech.
Their project has been successful so far due to funding obtained following their participation in the “Solidarity Challenge”, a competition co-organised by their school and the Monaco International Cooperation Department (DCI), in which they came second and were able to bag themselves nearly $6,000.
“The aim of the competition was to set up a project from A to Z with the aim of helping vulnerable children in Morocco,” one of the students behind the project, Rita Sekkat, said.
Inspired by a similar project carried out in Tunisia by the Wallah We Can association, the five students launched their own initiative with a small company in Fez, Morocco, that produces cloth sanitary napkins that will be distributed to young girls.
The towels are biodegradable, long-lasting, made of 100 per cent cotton, without any chemicals.
The packs that will be distributed will contain six towels based on the prototypes provided by Wallah We Can.
The students’ initiative will be coordinating with the Moroccan association Insaf (National Institute for Solidarity with Women), which helps women and children in need, to define an action zone in the Marrakech region.
The project will be set up in Dar Attaliba d’Imintanout, a shelter for young girls. “We will go on site, with a doctor, to talk with them and raise their awareness on the topic of hygiene. They have access to sanitary towels, but the issue of hygiene and menstruation remains quite taboo,” Sekkat explained.
“It’s mostly a humanitarian product, so the goal is not necessarily to sell it,” the student explained. “On the other hand, we had several good feedbacks [sic] on our project, other associations from Morocco and elsewhere contacted us to tell us that they wanted to possibly make other similar campaigns in the future with us.”