Tag Archives: menstrual hygiene

The Period Movement: Meet the Men Fighting to Stop Menstruation-Shaming

The Period Movement: Meet the Men Fighting to Stop Menstruation-Shaming. Newsweek, July 12, 2017.

Ganga Gautam stood at the back of a high school classroom in Kathmandu, Nepal, helplessly watching as a teenage girl started bleeding. Gautam, a professor of English education at Tribhuvan University, was observing one of his students teach a class two years ago.

Joshua Omanya, center, is an educator with The Cup program who teaches boys in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, about menstruation and gender equality.

Joshua Omanya, center, is an educator with The Cup program who teaches boys in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya, about menstruation and gender equality.

Three girls were sitting on a bench next to him, and one of them was clearly in distress.“I noticed that she was menstruating. The blood was coming,” he says. “She wasn’t prepared. She didn’t have a pad, and there was a male teacher teaching.”

Gautam saw the young girl open her pen and drip ink over the blood in an effort to hide it. As soon as class ended, she placed a piece of paper over the red stain and ran out. He never saw her in school again. “That happened many times,” he says. “I saw so many girls bleeding in classrooms and panicking.

They leave the classroom and never come back. That just killed me.”Around the world, girls and women miss classes, drop out of school and fail to reach their full potential because of a natural biological process: menstruation.

Read the complete article.

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.”

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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.

Using Waste Cloth and Towels, 4 Rajkot Schoolkids Created Reusable Sanitary Pads for Women

Using Waste Cloth and Towels, 4 Rajkot Schoolkids Created Reusable Sanitary Pads for Women. The Better India, May 24, 2017.

To shatter taboos surrounding periods and promote menstrual hygiene, a group of friends in Rajkot designed an affordable DIY pad using waste cloth and taught women in nearby slums and villages how to make them. The project won the Disney Innovation Award in the ‘Large Impact’ category at the ‘I CAN Awards 2014’ organised by Design for Change. 

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Waste cloth and towels collected through a donation rally.

A group of boys and girls at the Galaxy School in Rajkot, Gujarat realised that, even within their close circle, they were uncomfortable discussing the topic of periods openly.

On probing this deep-seated issue, they stumbled across a report by AC Nielsen stating that a mere 12 % of Indian women use pads, while an overwhelming 88 % use unhygienic materials like ash, sand, and husk during their menstruation.

Poor menstrual hygiene leads to the spread of infections and risk of cervical cancer, with 70 % of reproductive diseases in India originating from this. This worrying situation bothered the students.

Digging deeper to understand why this is such an issue, the students spoke to 70 women in their community and discovered that many cannot afford to buy pads at all.

Read the complete article.

In Nepal, women are still banished to ‘menstrual huts’ during their periods. It’s time to end this dangerous tradition

In Nepal, women are still banished to ‘menstrual huts’ during their periods. It’s time to end this dangerous tradition. Independent, May 24, 2017.

After seeing the practice of seclusion and the plight of these women, I believe that taboos around periods are not a cultural issue, they are a human rights issue 

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An example of a menstrual hut in remote areas of Nepal (Anjana Saud/Tatapani)

As a journalist and development professional living and working in Katmandu, I have had the chance to see menstruating women’s situation across Nepal from close quarters.

I found that the practice of isolating women during their period exists across the country in differing forms. The situation of women living at the rural areas is terrible.

In some places, women cannot be in their own homes during their period; in others women can be in the house, but not in the kitchen and worship room.

They are also forbidden from touching other people (especially male members of the family or neighbours) or cattle and from growing fruit and vegetables.

Read the complete article.

PMA2020 Menstrual Hygiene Management Briefs

PMA2020 Menstrual Hygiene Management Briefs

PMA2020 MHM Briefs are a one-page snapshot of select MHM indicators. PMA2020-horizontal-web-tagline

PMA2020 looks at how menstrual hygiene is managed across age groups and across wealth categories, including the types of materials used to collect menstrual blood, the main environments where MHM is practiced, and the safety, privacy, and cleanliness of these environments, among other metrics.

Briefs are available on Ghana, Kenya, Indonesia and other countries on the PMA2020 website.

FRESH webinar: Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergencies

Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergencies – Global guidelines and lessons learned from the Philippines

Presenters: Marni Sommer, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University; Jon Michael Villasenor, UNICEF Philippines
Time: 17 May 2017

Marni Sommer discussed the soon to be published Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in Emergencies Toolkit, developed by Columbia University and the International Rescue Committee in partnership with the global humanitarian response community.

Jon Villasenor’s presentation was on the MHM response to the typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2014, where he will be discussing the actions taken in the immediate aftermath and over the longer recovery period.

 

What Kenya Can Teach The U.S. About Menstrual Pads

What Kenya Can Teach The U.S. About Menstrual Pads | Source: NPR, May 10, 2016 |

The United States is only just starting to get periods — or, at least, acknowledging that products for “that time of the month” aren’t optional for menstruating women.

In 40 states, plus the District of Columbia, pads and tampons are subject to sales tax. Earlier this year, when President Obama was asked why they haven’t been exempted like other necessities, he said, “I suspect it’s because men were making the laws when those taxes were passed.”

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Faith Wanjoki of ZanaAfrica gives a lesson on how to use a sanitary pad in a classroom in Kisumu, Kenya. Her colleague, Catherine Onyango, sits by her side. ZanaAfrica Foundation

But there’s a movement to fight these taxes, and several states have eliminated them. Next up: New York, which has just passed a bill that’s awaiting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature.

Meanwhile, one country is way ahead of the U.S. when it comes to understanding that pads and tampons shouldn’t be taxed.

It’s Kenya.

Kenya repealed its value added tax on pads and tampons back in 2004 to lower the price consumers pay. And since 2011, the Kenyan government has been budgeting about $3 million per year to distribute free sanitary pads in schools in low-income communities.

That’s not to say Kenya is an ideal place to get one’s period. Many Kenyan girls still don’t have access to sanitary products, so they use unhygienic materials like chicken feathers, cheap mattresses and newspapers to fashion makeshift pads, says Megan White Mukuria.

Mukuria is the founder of ZanaAfrica Foundation, which delivers health education — and sanitary pads — to help girls stay in school. A girl who is embarrassed to stain her uniform (or has an infection) is one who is likely to skip class and eventually drop out, Mukuria explains. UNESCO estimates that more than two million Kenyan girls need support in order to get menstrual hygiene products.

Read the complete article.