Tag Archives: menstrual hygiene management

Bollywood’s ‘menstrual man’ movie targets Indian taboo

Bollywood’s ‘menstrual man’ movie targets Indian taboo. Asia Pacific News, February 7, 2018.

MUMBAI: A Bollywood movie about an inventor who created a revolutionary machine that makes cheap sanitary pads hits screens this week, challenging taboos surrounding menstruation in socially conservative India.


Indian actor Akshay Kumar stars in ‘Pad Man’, a Bollywood movie about an inventor who created a revolutionary machine that makes cheap sanitary pads. (Photo: AFP/Sam Panthaky)

Arunachalam Muruganantham is nicknamed India’s “menstrual man” for transforming the lives of poor women forced to use items like old rags, sand and leaves during their periods.

He has been lauded by India’s government and is now getting the star treatment with Bollywood A-lister Akshay Kumar portraying him in “Pad Man”, releasing on Friday (Feb 9).

It is the latest socially conscious movie to come out of a film industry known more for producing complex love stories featuring handsome heroes and elaborate dance routines.

Read the complete article.

Menstrual hygiene management in humanitarian situations


Nepal Fact Sheet: Safaa Paani (WASH Recovery) Program. USAID, December 2017. Some of the key outcomes are to: Map water sources using GIS technology across the two project districts; Renovate or construct 200 community water supply systems in earthquake-affected communities; and Promote sanitation, hygiene and menstrual hygiene management at temporary learning centers and schools

Menstrual Cups and Reusable Pads Are Literally Changing Lives Uganda’s Refugee Camps. Global Citizen, December 2017. The main goal of WoMena’s pilot program was to assess whether menstrual cups and reusable pads are feasible options for displaced women and girls.

For refugee women, periods a dangerous, shameful time. Reuters, March 2017. For refugee women, fleeing their homes for safety, the challenges of a period can be even greater. “There’s no dignity in having your period when you’re a refugee,” Terri Harris, of the Muslim women-led development charity Global One told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.


A Toolkit for Integrating MHM into Humanitarian Response: The Full Guide. Columbia University and International Rescue Committee, 2017. The toolkit was designed to support a range of humanitarian actors involved in the planning and delivery of emergency responses.

Transitions into puberty and access to sexual and reproductive health information in two humanitarian settings: a cross sectional survey of very young adolescents from Somalia and Myanmar. Conflict and Health, 2017. Very young adolescents (VYA) in humanitarian settings are largely neglected in terms of sexual and reproductive health (SRH). This study describes the characteristics of VYA aged 10-14 years in two humanitarian settings, focusing on transitions into puberty and access to SRH information.

Understanding the menstrual hygiene management challenges facing displaced girls and women: findings from qualitative assessments in Myanmar and Lebanon. Confl Health. 2017 Oct 16. Key findings included that there was insufficient access to safe and private facilities for MHM coupled with displacement induced shifts in menstrual practices by girls and women.

Menstrual Health in RHINO Camp Refugee Settlement, West Nile Uganda. WoMena Uganda, 2017. With support from WoMena Uganda, ZOA implemented a MHM pilot intervention in Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement to assess the acceptability of introducing menstrual cups and reusable pads as part of their Teach Me More school-based programme. The pilot also aimed to assess the feasibility of following guidelines for safe use and care of the reusable products.

Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) for Education in Emergencies (EIE): A Study for Plan International Tanzania. PLAN International, September 2017. The study’s four objectives were to: • Identify the meaning of menstruation in the daily lives of adolescent girls in Nduta Camp; • Assess the impact of MHM on adolescent girls’ school attendance in Nduta Camp; • Assess the support resources (parents, teachers, community) align with MHM promotes the adolescent girls’ school attendance in Nduta Camp.

Mitigating Threats to Girls’ Education in Conflict Affected Contexts: Evidence Review. UNGEI, October 2017. Though there is scarce literature about this issue from conflict-affected contexts, we also include in this section a brief discussion of WASH and MHM facilities in schools, as these are very important for adolescent girls to feel safe, secure, and respected at school.

How can Humanitarian Organisations Encourage More Women in Surge? ActionAid, April 2017. Personal hygiene: The most critical thing that this study can advise in relation to menstrual hygiene is to encourage all humanitarian organisations to create safe spaces for women and men to talk about periods and toilet access.

Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management in Nepal. PSI Nepal, 2017. This scoping review and preliminary mapping of Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management (MHM) in Nepal is one of the first of its kind in Nepal. Through this review, we studied in-depth the MHM situation in Nepal, bottlenecks and opportunities for the way forward.

The Last Taboo: Research on menstrual hygiene management in the Pacific: Solomon Islands, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea. Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), September 2017. The study was undertaken in 2016-17 and focuses on menstruation and how it is managed by women and adolescent girls in Solomon Islands (SI), Fiji and Papua New Guinea (PNG). The purpose of the study was to explore the challenges experienced by women and girls in managing their menstruation.

What is the scope for addressing menstrual hygiene management in complex humanitarian emergencies? A global review. Waterlines, July 2016. This global review assessed the landscape of MHM practice, policy, and research within the field of humanitarian response.

Menstrual Hygiene Management Virtual Conference – Register today

October 17th, 2017 – Menstrual Hygiene Management Virtual Conference

Participate online from anywhere in the world for free through our interactive virtual platform! unnamed.png

The 6th Annual Virtual Conference on MHM in Schools co-hosted by UNICEF and Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, provides an opportunity to hear the latest research and programming from around the world.

This year’s theme “MHM and WASH: Supporting a gender-responsive learning environment” aims to highlight national examples of supportive WASH in schools enabling environments that ensure that schools are ready for girls.

Kenya is promising free sanitary napkins to help keep girls in school

Kenya is promising free sanitary napkins to help keep girls in school. Quartz, June 2017.

Kenya’s president has promised to give all school girls free sanitary napkins. Less than two months before Kenyans go to the polls, president Uhuru Kenyatta signed the Basic Education Amendment Act which compels the government to provide “free, sufficient and quality sanitary towels to every girl child registered and enrolled in a public basic education institution.”


School for everyone. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)

One in 10 girls on the continent misses school during her period, according the United Nations education agency. In Kenya, one of the biggest obstacles for girls attending schools is a lack of sanitary napkins, often too expensive for families to afford. Kenya’s ministry of education estimates that girls who stay home while they are menstruating lose six weeks of schooling a year.

Read the complete article.

Resources from Exploring how to address on-going taboos and silence around MHM for girls in school

Below are links to some interesting resources and contacts from the SuSanA discussion that might be useful for WASH in schools and Gender:

Exploring how to address on-going taboos and silence around MHM for girls in school


Sophie Durrans, SHARE – In relation to this discussion I thought some of you might be interested in SHARE’s policy brief on MHM. It highlights the work we’ve done on this subject to date, where we think the gaps remain and what we’d recommend for policymakers and practitioners. You can download the policy brief here: http://www.shareresearch.org/research/menstrual-hygiene-management-policy-brief 

Claudia Wendland, WECF – In our Water and Sanitation Safety Plan Compendium (www.wecf.eu/english/publications/2017/Revised-Compendium.php) we have Part C which is a Train the teachers giving guidance to teachers how to realise an interactive education on water and sanitation and to make children change agents. Module C5 is about MHM: www.wecf.eu/download/2017/01-January/WSSPPublicationENPartC.pdf

Rachel Starkey | Transformation Textiles – From the feed-back of this great day with BCW, Transformation Textiles made these resources available on a FREE MHM mobile app, so that anyone anywhere could down-load these same resources and re-create their own mini-MHM festival. We were invited by IsraAID to teach refugee women in the Kakuma Refugee camp the same material. As expected, these women adapted, improved upon our materials and made it their own.

Camilla Wirseen, founder of The Cup Foundation and co-founder of a sanitation solution called Peepoo. The Cup Foundation works with trainers who are almost peers to the girls they train. They are all young women, 20-30 years old who have shared similar challenges to the girls they train and grown up in similar environments. We also include the environment surrounding the girls. We train boys aged 13-16 years in schools, parents, teachers and elders (informal leaders) to fight the taboo, and in support of the girls.

Aditi Gupta talks about taboos and silences regarding MHM in India and her Comic “Menstrupedia” in her TED talk on “A taboo-free way to talk about periods”

Oxford researchers say African girls need just two things to stay in school

Oxford researchers say African girls need just two things to stay in school. Quartz, December 21, 2016.

Social scientists and educators have experimented with many ways to incentivize girls from low-income backgrounds in developing countries to stay in school including providing lunch, bicycles, and toiletsschools

While there has been considerable improvement in getting girls to enroll in primary schools, it’s proven harder to keep school attendance up in higher grades. In Uganda, 91% girls are enrolled in primary schools, but that figure falls to 22% for secondary schools.

Now a new study led by Paul Montgomery, a professor of psychosocial intervention at Oxford University, shows that there’s a pretty simple way to boost secondary school attendance in girls in Africa: give them sanitary pads and lessons on puberty.

The new paper, published Dec. 21 in PLOS One, builds on a 2008 pilot study in Ghana, also carried out by Oxford researchers, which showed that the first instance of menstruation triggered a drop in school attendance for young girls. The researchers note that in several developing countries, there is a stigma attached to menstruation and that girls are seen as “dirty” while on their period—one of the main reasons they stay home from school at the time. It’s also often difficult for girls in rural areas to find sanitary pads; many rely on absorbent cloth, which can leak and stain school uniforms.

Read the complete article.

Menstrual hygiene management among adolescent schoolgirls in low- and middle-income countries: research priorities

Menstrual hygiene management among adolescent schoolgirls in low- and middle-income countries: research priorities. Global Health Action, December 2016.

Authors:  Penelope A. Phillips-Howard, Bethany Caruso, Belen Torondel, Garazi Zulaika, Murat Sahin and Marni Sommer

Background: A lack of adequate guidance on menstrual management; water, disposal, and private changing facilities; and sanitary hygiene materials in low- and middle-income countries leaves schoolgirls with limited options for healthy personal hygiene during monthly menses.

While a plethora of observational studies have described how menstrual hygiene management (MHM) barriers in school impact girls’ dignity, well-being, and engagement in school activities, studies have yet to confirm if inadequate information and facilities for MHM significantly affects quantifiable school and health outcomes influencing girls’ life chances. Evidence on these hard outcomes will take time to accrue; however, a current lack of standardized methods, tools, and research funding is hampering progress and must be addressed.

Objectives: Compile research priorities for MHM and types of research methods that can be used.

Results: In this article, we highlight the current knowledge gaps in school-aged girls’ MHM research, and identify opportunities for addressing the dearth of hard evidence limiting the ability of governments, donors, and other agencies to appropriately target resources. We outline a series of research priorities and methodologies that were drawn from an expert panel to address global priorities for MHM in schools for the next 10 years.

Conclusions: A strong evidence base for different settings, standardized definitions regarding MHM outcomes, improved study designs and methodologies, and the creation of an MHM research consortia to focus attention on this neglected global issue.