Menstrual hygiene is vital to keep girls healthy and in school worldwide. It is important to understand that menstruation hygiene enables women and girls to reach life's fullest potential.
Menstrual Hygiene Day 2018
May 28 is Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day); a day dedicated to bringing awareness around the vital role that good menstrual hygiene management (MHM) plays in empowering women and adolescent girls worldwide to become all that they can be. The vision behind MH Day is a world in which every woman and girl is able to manage her menstruation in a hygienic way- in safety, privacy, and with dignity- wherever they are.
28 May was chosen for MH day because May is the fifth month of the year, and women's menstruation period lasts an average of five days. The 28th was chosen because the average menstrual cycle is 28 days.
This year’s theme is Empowering Women and Girls through Good Menstrual Hygiene, and the slogan is #nomorelimits. The silence and social stigma surrounding menstruation will only be broken when women and girls, along with their families, communities, and support systems are equipped and educated with factual information and encouraged to engage in healthy dialogue concerning MHM.
This year, World Vision joined with WASH United, Simavi and GIZ are launching a webinar series on menstrual hygiene, as an activity under the MH Alliance. TThe topic of each webinar was introduced by an expert, such as Marni Sommer (Columbia University) and Chris Bobel (Society for Menstruation Research) and followed by presentations from organisations working in Asia and Africa.
Below is a breakdown of the webinars.
WEBINAR 1: Menstrual Hygiene: The Issue, evidence and gaps. Thursday, 31 May, 1200h UTC (0800H New york)
Thematic presenter: Marni Sommer, Columbia University
During this webinar, we discussed the current state of MHM on the global stage – the issue, current evidence and existing gaps. We discussed evidence-informed programming for MH, and what is important to take into account. We shared examples of evidence-based programmes and rigorous evaluation of MH programmes.
View the webinar below:
Link to Dr Marni Sommer's (Columbia University) presentation with an overview of the issue, evidence and gaps in menstrual hygiene. Marni Sommer_Thematic Presentation.pdf
Link to Lidwien Sol's (Maastricht University) presentation on the Ritu Programme in Bangladesh. Lidwien Sol_Ritu Programme.pdf
Link to Megan Mukuria's (Zana Africa) presentation on Zana Africa's research work in Kenya (link coming soon). Megan Mukuria_ZanaAfrica.pdf
WEBINAR 2: Solutions to improve knowledge, attitudes and practices. Thursday, 7 June, 1300h GMT.
Thematic presenter: Chris Bobel, University of Massachusetts
Starting from a global discourse on menstruation, we discussed taboos surrounding menstruation in different parts of the world. Following this, we explored solutions to address limiting norms and values and barriers to knowledge and education. We shared different methodological approaches tailored for different target audiences (school-going girls, out of school; women, people with disabilities, at workplace; etc.) and discussed strategies for scaling vs. localized interventions.
View the webinar below:
Link to Chris Bobel's (University of Massachusetts) presentation on making a case for educational interventions in menstrual health. Chris Bobel Presentation.pdf
Link to Nirmala Nair's (WASH United, India) presentation on the creation of Ruby's World: a menstrual hygiene education guide for girls. WASH United presentation_Nirmala Nair.pdf
Link to Bosun Jang's (Sesame Workshop) presentation on MHM education delivered by Muppets. Sesame Workshop presentation_Bosun Jang.PDF
WEBINAR 3: Creating access to menstrual products. Thursday, 14 June, 1400h GMT.
Thematic presenter: Nancy Muller, Path
Starting from the different needs and expectations of women and girls regarding menstrual products in different countries, we explored gaps in access to these products. We explored examples of sustainable market-based distribution systems and (sustainable) locally produced products.
View the webinar below:
Link to Nancy Muller's (Path) presentation on menstrual products and access. Path Presentation_Nancy Muller.pdf
Link to Wonder Mafuta's (World Vision Somalia) presentation on the World Vision and BeGirl pilot in Somalia. WV Somalia and Be Girl Presentation_Wonder Mafuta.pdf
Link to Charu Agarwal's (DharmaLife) presentation on their social entrepreneurship model for access to menstrual products. Dharma Life MHM Presentation_Charu Agarwal.pdf
WEBINAR 4: Infrastructure solutions for MH. Thursday, 21 June, 1300h GMT
Moderator: Therese Mahon, WaterAid
Thematic presenter: Bella Monze, GIZ
Starting from the specific needs of women and girls regarding WASH facilities, especially during their menstruation, we discussed good practices in terms of WASH infrastructural design and disposal at institutional level, with a focus on female-friendly design. We also explored how the SDG WASH in Schools monitoring framework addresses MHM infrastructure indirectly in the core indicators and directly in the expanded indicators.
View the webinar below:
Link to Bella Monze's (GIZ) thematic presentation on MHM-friendly infrastructure in the SDG WinS monitoring framework. GIZ_Bella Monze.pdf
Link to Hashim Khan's (GIZ, Sanitation 4 Millions) presentation on sustainable access to improved sanitation services for refugees in hosting communities at scale. GIZ_Hashim Khan.pdf
Link to Arundati Mularidharan's (WaterAid) presentation on management of menstrual waste, insights from India and Pakistan. WaterAid_Arundati Muralidharan.pdf
WEBINAR 5: Advocating for MH (live BROADCAST FROM the High Level Political Forum). 11 July, 1400-1530H UTC.
The final webinar was a live panel from the High-level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals, held on 11 July. We discussed the relevance and opportunities to advocate for MH. We explored how to link international advocacy across sectors as well as how to link national advocacy to advocacy on a global level, and we heard examples of good practices from Kenya and Bangladesh. The panel was moderated by Hilda Alberda from Simvai, and was comprised of:
Dr Inga Winkler, Columbia University
Irene Gai, Water for Health Kenya
Mahbuba Kumkum, Simavi Bangaldesh.
Listen to the recording:
The overall objective of this series is to document and promote learning and connection between menstrual hygiene practitioners and interested professionals from different sectors, with a specific aim to refine and advance the global MH agenda.
Check out this blog: Menstrual Hygiene Rights are Human Rights.
How is World Vision Engaging in MHM?
World Vision India has engaged intentionally in menstrual health and hygiene education, targeting adolescent girls, teachers, health workers, parents and community groups across several states in India. This includes tools and curricula such as the Reproductive Health Toolkit for girls and boys, and a Making Schools Gender-Friendly Guidebook.
WV Zambia is acting on 2014 research:Investigating the Perceptions and Barriers to Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in Zambia, which concluded that male teachers and school boys needed to be more informed regarding MHM, and that girls needed to be provided with a safe, comfortable space to learn about their own bodies. The research also recommended that school curricula needed to include more information surrounding MHM.
In 2015, WV Kenya launched the Standing with the Girls campaign focused on raising funds and promoting awareness to support girls during their menstrual period.
All of World Vision’s school WASH programmes now require that school sanitation facilities are MHM friendly, which include sex-separated toilets, bathing facilities, and access to water and soap for personal cleaning for girl students and female teachers.