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Menstrual Hygiene Management: An important component of SHN

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Jeanne Long

on 6 December 2013

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Transcript of Menstrual Hygiene Management: An important component of SHN

What do we already know girls need to manage menses in school?
Menstrual Hygiene Management: An important component of SHN Programs
Why does MHM matter for SHN?
Many girls drop out of school at the onset of their menses.
(UNICEF, 2003)

Who is involved in MHM?
Activity 1
True or False
Activity 2
1. Read your passage
2. As a group, identify every challenge the girl faces in that passage.
3. Brainstorm potential solutions to address each challenge.
4. Rank implementation of those solutions from easy to difficult
5. Determine how you would MEASURE the challenge?
6. Factors to consider
Cultural norms of menstruation
Do you believe stakeholders will answer you openly?
what do you think is a priority and what do you think is the biggest challenge to address?
Are there “easy” wins?
7. Present – 4 min each: select a representative to speak for the group
What is Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM)??
Women and adolescent girls use a clean material to absorb or collect menstrual blood, and this material can be changed in privacy as often as necessary for the duration of menstruation. MHM also includes using soap and water for washing the body as required, and having access to facilities to dispose of used menstrual management materials.
The WHO defines health as:
"a state of complete
physical, mental and social well-being
and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."

We should consider the complexity of girls' MHM experiences in school with this definition in mind.

If menstruation normally lasts over a week, girls will often skip the whole school year.
(Bharadwaj & Patkar, 2004)
In Northern Tanzania, the onset of menses restricts girls’ ability to participate in social and academic activities. Girls do not have the facilities or guidance they need to manage their menses. They often experience shame, confusion, and fear, as a result.
(Sommer, 2009)
With universal primary education –
there are more girls in primary school
Addressing MHM in school can help support girls’ transition from primary to secondary school
Research shows that poor MHM negatively impacts girls’ concentration and participation at school
(UNICEF & Emory: Bolivia, Philippines, Rwanda, & Sierra Leone 2013, Save the Children: Philippines 2013)
School administrators
Girls need practical skills

Guidance that is age appropriate and biologically accurate,
(9-10), that addresses:
Which absorbent materials available to them and how they are hygienically used.
How to track menses and it’s link to fertility
How to properly use WASH facilities in school
Destructive cultural taboos and practices
Comprehensive gender and puberty education

Requires building the capacity of teachers to provide education
Learning materials in class
Methodologies for teaching sensitive topics
Connecting community health workers and teachers
WASH Facilities
Girls need private, discrete, and comfortable facilities:
Walls--privacy from odor, sight, and sound
Cleaning materials (Water or toilet paper) - flushing and cleaning
Space - to change soiled materials

Systems for regular maintenance - Just like other WASH interventions!

School policies that allow girls to
manage menses--anonymity
Absorbent materials & Consumables
The MoE, families, schools, NGOs, and the private sector play a role in ensuring girls have access to material.
They should be
to girls in cases of emergency (First aid kits?)
Sanitary pads
Extra school uniform skirts
Pain relievers
School canteens have absorbent materials available for sale
Livelihood education programs integrate re-usable sanitary pad production and distribution.
Private sector companies produce a more affordable sanitary pad targeted to low income women and girls
Existing Resources
Menstrual Hygiene Matters
9 modules and toolkits that cover key aspects of menstrual hygiene in different LMICs settings

1. to provide examples of good MHM practice from around the world.
2. Provide guidance on building competence and confidence to
break the silence
around MHM.
3. Encourage
increased engagement in advocacy
on menstrual hygiene.
WASH in Schools Empowers Girls' Education
-Formative assessments of MHM in schools in Bolivia, Philippines, Rwanda, and Sierra Leon

-Contains country-specific recommendations on education, WASH facilities, absorbent materials, and the systems that are required, all based on the specific needs expressed by girls and other stakeholders.
Save the Children initiatives
Puberty posters
- easily adaptable, key puberty messages that girls can take home.

Very Young Adolescent (VYA) workbooks
- MHM, puberty (girls AND boys), and gender norms.
Coming soon...2014
ARSH team is developing toolkit for adapting puberty books

Unicef is releasing
MHM research tools from the 2013 MHM Virtual conference.
We want to know:
1. If your SHN program wants to do more / any MHM programming
2. What else you think Save the Children / SHN could be doing?
2. What resources do you still need?
Questions from girls in their community
Personal stories from real girls
Gender norms
Full transcript