Education about menstruation changes everything

On 28 May we celebrate Menstrual Hygiene Day, a day that seeks to break the silence and build awareness about the fundamental role good menstrual hygiene management (MHM) plays in enabling women and girls to reach their full potential. This year the day is themed, ‘Education about menstruation changes everything’: educating not only girls, but also boys and the wider community, is essential for menstruation to be seen as normal and natural. This is essential where taboos, inadequate facilities and negative social norms around menstruation still prevent women managing menstruation in a safe, dignified way with subsequent impacts on their ability to engage in education, work and other opportunities. 

Gender and Social Inclusion (GESI) is a core focus of the CS WASH Fund and 30% of Fund projects have MHM focused activities. A lack of appropriate and adequate sanitation facilities in schools is widely acknowledged to be a major barrier to girls’ attendance. The Fund’s projects are working in schools to improve gender outcomes for girls through awareness raising and training, including around MHM. A number of projects are providing specific menstrual hygiene facilities in girls’ toilet blocks, including the Australian Red Cross in Bangladesh and WaterAid in Papua New Guinea, while others focus on hygiene behaviour change approaches. 

You can learn more about the progress the CS WASH Fund has made in supporting efforts to improve MHM for women and girls and break the silence on the taboo of menstruation, in this mid-term review of Gender and Social Inclusion (M&E Note 9). Further tools and resources on MHM from the Fund and CSOs can be accessed below. 

MHM Fund CSO resources 

Download SNV’s latest Menstrual Hygiene Management resource reflecting on the integrated rights-based approach they have developed at scale to improve safe MHM.  

Read the report MHM Realities, Progress and Opportunities and Good Practice Guidance Note by UNICEF. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the key challenges and ongoing initiatives around menstrual hygiene management, and the guidance note provides a set of proposed actions for policy makers and practitioners. 

Revisit the Menstrual Hygiene Management Learning Brief from the Pacific Regional Learning Event in November 2015. The brief provides an overview of the issues, areas of discussion and examples of how CSOs are addressing MHM within Fund projects, as well as links to key resources and tools. 

Listen to this webinar recording on Girls and Schools WASH in the Pacific which explores the norms, bias and taboos, along with resource constraints and other barriers making the achievement of the rights of girls within School WASH programs an ongoing challenge. 

Download this useful two-page guide from Plan International that outlines some suggested indicators for MHM programming, the means of verification and how they can be measured. 

What are you doing for #MHD17? 

Join us break the silence around menstruation and share why you think #MenstruationMatters with us on Facebook and Twitter