While several education and gender policies exist in Sierra Leone, there are no MHM-specific policies, guidelines or educational initiatives that support an enabling school environment for girls during menstruation. Among the legislation that supports children’s right to education, the Child Rights Act of 2007, the Social Protection Policy 2009, the national Constitution (articles 8 and 9) and the Education Act of 2004 require all children to complete six years of primary school and three years of junior secondary school. They do not, however, explicitly address the social and physical environments of the school once children are enrolled and attending, or the specific needs of girls.
In 2010, the Education for All Sierra Leone Coalition carried out a situation assessment of girls’ education and identified key recommendations for improving girls’ educational experiences. The assessment identified several policy-level recommendations that could positively influence girls’ schooling experience during menstruation
In an effort to learn more about girls’ experiences, UNICEF Sierra Leone – on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation – conducted a baseline study to understand WASH in Schools coverage, pupils’ behaviour, and the health and educational status of pupils in rural Sierra Leone.
The overview was compiled based on information from WASH in Schools Empowers Girls’ Education - Proceedings of the Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools Virtual Conference 2014.