Episode 006: Advocating for Menstrual Equality in the Media with Janet Mbugua
Janet Mbugua (she/her/hers) is a media influencer and gender rights advocate, especially when it comes to menstrual health. She started the Inua Dada Foundation, meaning “uplift the sister”, which works to change policy and provide education to girls and women in need with their period cycles. Among her many accomplishments, publishing her book “My First Time” is one of her most influential projects that includes conversations from women and men about menstruation.
Today, Janet is here to talk about the Inua Dada Foundation, The Hive Project, and highlight the stories of others involving education around menstruation and its global effects. She also touches on the use of social media to engage audiences in issues that matter, releasing the stigma of social norms around taboo topics. We felt empowered listening to Janet and we know you will too.
Resources mentioned in the episode:
“My First Time”, by Janet Mbugua
- Inua Dada Foundation
- News feature piece on menstruation: Hearing their stories
- Working toward sustainable products with the high demand from the pandemic
- The Hive: Influencers to create lasting change
Janet Mbugua is a Kenyan Media Personality and Gender Equality Advocate with a focus on Menstrual Equality. She is a TV Host with experience as a News Anchor, Reporter, and Producer both in her country, Kenya and in South Africa. Her experience in Broadcast has seen her cover the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the 2007 and 2013 Kenya elections and the 2012 U.S Elections.
Janet started out in Radio at the age of 19 on Nairobi’s Capital FM. Years later at 23, she became the host of the popular travel show Out and About on KTN and later became a Prime Time News Anchor and Reporter, still on KTN. Janet was then headhunted for the position of News Anchor, Reporter and Producer by e TV in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2009. She then returned to Kenya in 2011, where she joined Citizen TV as a Prime Time News Anchor, Reporter and Producer until April 2017. In 2019 curated and hosted a TV Show called Here And Now on NTV, which focused on socio-economic and political issues affecting young people.
Janet is the founder of the Inua Dada Foundation, an organization whose mission is to create a supportive and accessible environment for primary school girls in Kenya by conducting research to identify issues that hinder learning and working collaboratively with strategic partners to implement sustainable solutions (http://www.inuadadafoundation.org). With a focus on Menstrual Health Management (MHM), the organization has empowered more than 12,000 girls over the last few years and held various media and advocacy events that have reached thousands of people. The organization is moving towards being largely advocacy-based and will be releasing a publication in 2019 to influence policy change and de-stigmatize conversations around MHM and SRH.
In July 2017 she began consulting for The Hive, a US Based organization seeking to amplify Gender Equality messaging in Kenya and other African countries. She is the Project Lead for #Better4Kenya, their first campaign in Kenya.
Some of her achievements include:
- Being named as one of the top three best News Anchors in Kenya by the Media Council of Kenya
- Brand Ambassador for the Lifebuoy Help A Child Reach 5 campaign, representing Kenya globally
- Recipient of the Top 40 Under 40 Award by Business Daily Africa, 2015
- Being named one of the Top 25 Women In Digital Media in Kenya, in 2018
- MC/ Moderator for the opening and closing ceremony of the International Conference On Planning and Development (ICPD25) Summit 2019
In 2020, Janet released her first book, ‘My First Time’, a collection of short stories from women, girls, and men on their first interaction with menstruation. The book is a tool for a much-needed conversation around sexual and reproductive health and rights and a tool to influence policy change around Menstrual Hygiene and Management.