The Period Moran: Jamal Nungoh

Sep 30, 2023

Who is Jamal?

I am Jamal, a dedicated youth leader hailing from the Kajiado Working Group. I carry the responsibility of guiding young people towards positive life-changing experiences. In the words of Marcus Aurelius, “we shouldn’t waste our lives being distressed with the unknowable amount of time left to live; we should make the most out of it.” I embody this philosophy, striving to bring out the best in people and share the goodness I possess. I am a staunch advocate for menstrual health and hygiene, often referred to as “The Period Moran.”

Tell us about your organization.

My organization, Youth Voice Africa, was established just over a year ago, following the Participate International Conference. Our thematic areas include Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), mentorship, mental health, environmental conservation, and combating drug and substance abuse.

We are currently in partnership with Iseuri Primary School where we provide sanitary towels to all the girls monthly (Grade 4 – 8).

Earlier this year, in collaboration with local youths, we organized a clean-up of Kajiado Town market. Our partnership with BEBA BEBA Kajiado aims to distribute dustbins in Kajiado town and its surroundings. We are also committed to advocating for mental well-being, equipping young people with the resilience to cope with the various stresses they encounter.

We also undertake visits to Kajiado Prison, to not only distribute sanitary towels to female inmates but also deliver messages to remind young people that crime doesn’t pay.

What challenges have you faced in this work as a young leader?

I encountered criticism and ridicule, particularly as a man discussing menstrual health in Maasai culture, where it’s often considered taboo. Additionally, financial constraints posed a significant challenge. To address this, we initiated income-generating projects like a small-scale poultry farm and water selling to supplement our group’s contributions.

What are your proudest achievements as a young leader?

I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved on my journey. One of the best things I’ve done is making sure that girls can go to school even when they have their periods, so they don’t miss out on learning. I’ve also been featured in articles around the world, which has let me share my experiences with a lot of people. I’ve been part of important global events like the Participate International Conference and the African Youth Climate Assembly, where I’ve talked about big global problems and tried to find solutions. I’m also proud that young people trust me to talk about sensitive topics and have good conversations. I’ve also helped clean up my community, making it a nicer and more sustainable place for everyone.

What has it taken to achieve your success? What advice would you give to other young leaders trying to build organizations?

It’s been a lot of hard work, dedication, and teamwork. I’ve been working with other young people to help them feel more confident about themselves. We come together, talk about our life experiences, and figure out how to overcome challenges. Our success is thanks to everyone in the group who works together and shares new ideas. Plus, our community has been really supportive and open to our plans and ideas.

Here’s my advice for young leaders:

  1. Hold regular meetings to stay connected.
  2. Include young people in decision-making processes.
  3. Get them involved in projects and provide feedback.
  4. Create an environment where every youth feels free to express themselves.
  5. Show respect to everyone, regardless of their background.
  6. Motivate and find constructive ways to connect with young people.
  7. Remember the saying, “If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain,” meaning sometimes you have to make the effort to connect with others where they are

Parting Shot?

I will leave you with a powerful message: “We should not ridicule our beloved sisters, mothers, aunts, daughters, and nieces. We all have at least one or all of them in our lives; they are blessed by God to have a menstrual cycle, which enables them to bear us all. Period is beautiful.”

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