May 28 is Menstrual Hygiene Day (#MHD2017) – a time to focus on the difficulties faced by adolescent girls in poor countries when their periods start.
This year’s theme is ‘Education on menstruation changes everything’, highlighting the fact that all too often periods are a taboo subject in many cultures, shrouded in secrecy and silence. For example, in India, only 1 out of 2 girls know about menstruation before their first period, and in Tanzania and Ethiopia, only 1 out of 4 girls know about it.
This situation means that even though menstruation is a normal biological process, it’s easy for taboos and misunderstanding to proliferate, causing girls yet more misery. In recent years, more attention has been focused on this issue, thanks partly to initiatives like Menstrual Hygiene Day.
Here are some useful resources:
- Menstrual Hygiene Day is a global platform that brings together non-profits, government agencies, the private sector, the media and individuals to promote menstrual hygiene management (MHM).
- MHM Realities, Progress and Opportunities and Good Practice Guidance Note by UNICEF provides a comprehensive overview of the key challenges around MHM, while the guidance note provides a set of proposed actions for policy makers and practitioners.
- Check out the Menstrual Hygiene section on www.washinschoolsmapping.com for information on countries and the MHM Virtual Conferences of 2015 and 2016.
- Menstrual hygiene day quiz: This short, fun quiz has been developed by IRC: test your knowledge!
- Menstrual Hygiene Matters, developed by WaterAid, is an essential resource for anyone working to improve menstrual hygiene for women and girls.
- The WinS4Girls E-Course is aimed at strengthening the capacity of WASH practitioners and policymakers in this field. It was designed by Emory University and UNICEF.
- Plan International has developed a useful two-page guide with some suggested indicators for MHM programming and how they can be measured.
- Issue 6 of Frontiers magazine by Community-led Total Sanitation shows how CLTS programmes can be expanded to address MHM in schools and communities.