Category Archives: IYS Themes

WASHplus Weekly: Focus on Menstrual Hygiene Management

WASHplus Weekly |Issue 193|May 28, 2015|Menstrual Hygiene Management| 

This WASHplus Weekly focuses on issues related to menstrual hygiene management (MHM) and is well-timed, as May 28 is Menstrual Hygiene Day. Menstrual Hygiene Day is meant to serve as a platform to bring together individuals, organizations, social businesses, and the media to create a united and strong voice for women and girls around the world, helping to break the silence around menstrual hygiene management. WASHPlus_HTMLbanner_weekly_600x159

Resources in this issue include a WASHplus MHM toolkit, a listing of upcoming and past MHM conferences, webinars on dealing with the disposal of sanitary pads, a special Waterlines issue on MHM, and recent articles, reports, videos, and key MHM-related websites.

WASHPLUS RESOURCES

Menstrual Hygiene Management Mini-Toolbox for Teachers and Schools in Zambia, 2015. SPLASH. Link
Menstrual Hygiene Management or MHM is an important component of a “WASH-Friendly School.” Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene (SPLASH) designed this toolkit to help classroom teachers, guidance counselors, and other school personnel in Zambian primary schools establish MHM programs or activities in their schools as a way to improve girls’ attendance. With suggestions for incorporating the topic into lessons, the toolkit also includes games, role-plays, and pad-making instructions.

Continue reading

#MenstruationMatters in Bangladeshi schools

28 May is Menstrual Hygiene Day. In Bangladesh, BRAC field staff are working hard to “end the hesitation around menstruation” especially in schools.

BRAC staff member (left) from Jessore district with sanitary napkins for schools.

BRAC staff member (left) from Jessore district with sanitary napkins for schools. Photo: Petra Brussee/IRC

Field staff of BRAC WASH in Bangladesh talk just as easily about menstrual hygiene as they do about water seals for toilets or hand pumps. At community level menstrual hygiene messages are included in the programme for adolescent girls and young women. Since 2006 about 45 million community cluster meetings have been organised.

In rural areas rags are used by women who cannot afford sanitary napkins. Field staff discuss menstrual hygiene with adolescent girls and young women, for example on how to wash rags with soap and dry them in the sun. They are also encouraged to speak up about menstrual hygiene says Abu Taleb Biswas of BRAC WASH in Hygiene Promotion – the backbone of BRAC WASH: “Women and adolescent girls learn to speak up about menstrual hygiene issues, something that was nearly unthinkable even a few years ago.”

Continue reading

Proceedings of the Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools Virtual Conference 2014

WASH in Schools Empowers Girls’ Education: Proceedings of the Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools Virtual Conference 2014. United Nations Children’s Fund and Columbia University, New York, 2015.

Authors: Sommer, Marni, Emily Cherenack, Sarah Blake, Murat Sahin and Lizette Burgers.

This publication brings together the key elements of the 16 presentations in a case study format. Each case study outlines the context in which the programme or research is being undertaken, the methods or approaches used, the accomplishments realized and challenges faced. Each case study also provides a number of recommendations to help guide future work.

The virtual conference also provided an opportunity to engage in a visioning exercise during which the participants collectively brainstormed and ranked a list of priority action items to be accomplished by 2024.

The 2015 virtual conference will showcase findings from formative research on MHM in WinS that is underway in a variety of countries.

Lifebuoy champions need for handwashing with soap public private partnerships at AfricaSan 4 to improve newborn survival

Photo credit: Lifebuoy/Unilever  #HelpaChildReach5

Photo credit: Lifebuoy/Unilever #HelpaChildReach5

Dakar, Senegal 25th May – Unilever, through health soap brand Lifebuoy is calling on African leaders gathering in Senegal this week for AfricaSan – the continent’s pre-eminent sanitation and hygiene conference – to recognise the role of public private partnerships in addressing newborn and child health. The move comes as Lifebuoy announces the renewal of its partnership with USAID and the expansion of newborn hygiene programmes across Kenya following a successful four-year partnership. Lifebuoy aims to reach 71 million across Africa by 2020 as part of its behaviour change programme which has engaged 257 million people in 24 countries, since 2010.

In its mission to reach 1 billion people with its lifesaving message of handwashing with soap, Lifebuoy joined forces with USAID and its Maternal and Child Survival Programme (MCSP), to create a dedicated newborn programme to make handwashing with soap commonplace among mothers. Worldwide, 40% of under-5 deaths occur in the newborn period and handwashing with soap is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce preventable diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia, the main causes of child mortality.

The programme will combine Lifebuoy’s marketing and consumer expertise and proven handwashing behaviour change methodology, with MCSP’s ability to deploy programmes on a large scale, allowing the partnership to reach millions of new mothers. The collaboration proves the vital role that public private partnerships play in public health interventions in Africa and beyond.

“Most newborn deaths due to infection could be averted through simple preventive measures, such as improving hygiene and ensuring curative care is available to sick children.   Unilever and USAID renew our commitment to scale up newborn hygiene programs together.  A simple hygiene message – handwashing with soap – can help save the lives of babies,” said Katie Taylor, Deputy Child and Maternal Survival Coordinator at the U.S. Agency for International Development. “With Unilever and Lifebuoy, we are combining our expertise to achieve real change for the mothers and children in Africa – so every child in Africa can live beyond their fifth birthday.”

Senegalese politician and award-winning singer Youssou N’Dour has pledged his support to Lifebuoy’s Help A Child Reach 5 campaign to highlight the importance of hygiene in reducing child mortality, particularly in Africa. He is described as one of the world’s greatest singers and has advocated for children in Africa and abroad. “50% of the world’s under-5 deaths happens in Africa, with 1 in every 10 children born dying before their 5th birthday,” said N’Dour. “The simple act of handwashing with soap can save children’s lives and should play a key part in the post-2015 development agenda. I am calling on policymakers and governments in Africa to help make this happen by expanding handwashing education programmes.”

The Fourth Regional Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene in Africa (AfricaSan 4) is focusing on the theme: Making Sanitation for All a Reality in Africa.  With the launch of the United Nations’ new Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) in September, Lifebuoy is raising awareness of the need to track handwashing facilities and behaviours in the water and sanitation goal (SDG 6). How individual countries choose to implement the SDGs and build the targets and indicators into their own national plans will determine their success and Lifebuoy is working to ensure its message “Handwashing with soap saves lives” is heard at the highest levels in Africa.

Press contacts:

Related web sites:

WHO Bulletin – Redefining shared sanitation

Redefining shared sanitation. WHO Bulletin, April 2015.

Authors: Thilde Rheinländer, Flemming Konradsen, Bernard Keraita, Patrick Apoya & Margaret Gyapong

Current definitions do not account for the diversity of shared sanitation: all shared toilet facilities are by default classified as unimproved by JMP because of the tendency for shared toilets to be unmanaged and unhygienic. However, we argue that shared sanitation should not be automatically assumed to be unimproved. We also argue that it is necessary to have a new look at how we define shared sanitation and use specific sub-categories including household shared (sharing between a limited number of households who know each other), public toilets (intended for a transient population, but most often the main sanitation facility for poor neighbourhoods) and institutional toilets (workplaces, markets etc.).

This sub-classification will identify those depending on household shared sanitation, which we consider to be only a small step away from achieving access to private and improved sanitation. This sub-category of shared sanitation is, therefore, worth discussing in greater detail. Experiences from Ghana and other sub-Saharan African countries illustrate how household shared sanitation may well fit with culturally acceptable sanitation choices and not necessarily be unhygienic. Indeed, household shared sanitation may be the only realistic option that brings people the important first step up the sanitation ladder from open defecation to a basic level of sanitation.

India sanitation initiative wins prestigious UN prize

Training women in Nadia District, Sabar Shouchagar programme

Training women in Nadia District,. Photo credit: Sabar Shouchagar programme

The UN has awarded one of their prestigious 2015 Public Service Awards to Nadia district in West Bengal for their sanitation initiative Sabar Shouchagar (Toilets for All).

Bordering on Bangladesh,  the rural district has a population of 5.4 million of whom nearly 2 million or 40% practised open defecation in 2013.  This was in sharp contrast with neighbouring Bangladesh, where only 4% of the people practise open defecation. This realisation sparked the district to start pooling available government resources and develop the Sabar Shouchar concept.

Besides pooling government funds, the concept involved mass awareness campaigns, parternships with NGOs, focus on women and children as change agents, rural sanitation marts, transforming district administration and a 10% mandatory user contribution to cost of toilet construction.

All this resulted in Nadia becoming the first Indian district to be declared open defecation free on 30 April 2015.

2015 UNPSA Banner10

Nadia district will receive its award from the United Nations Secretary-General on 23 June 2015 in Medellin, Colombia.

For more information go to: sabarshouchagar.in

Source: Indian Express, 8 May 2015

Toilet humour is serious business [video]

An inspirational (and funny) TEDx talk on the impact of school sanitation on girls in India.

Told by Australian busnessman, Mark Balla whose visit to the world’s largest slum Dharavi changed his life and turned him into a “toilet warrior”.

Mark is the Founder and Director of Community Engagement at We Can’t Wait.