MHM & WASH School Programs

Adolescence is a period of rapid transition from girlhood to womanhood. The onset of menstruation is one of the most important changes that occur for girls during the adolescent years. Menstrual hygiene is not merely an individual issue but a societal one as it has a direct impact on women’s health, education and consequent developments.

Menstruation is a normal biological process and a key sign of reproductive health.Yet in many cultures, it is treated as something negative, shameful or dirty. The continued silence around menstruation combined with limited access to information at home and schools result in many women and girls in the area having little knowledge about what is happening to their bodies when they menstruate and how to deal with it.

The Problem: Cultural factors and economic constraints lead to poor menstrual hygiene management among girls, particularly in rural areas.  Economic constraints lead to girls and women having limited access to hygienic materials for managing menses. Even girls and women who have access to sanitary pads may only change them once or twice a day. Limited resources also hinder access to private and hygienic sanitation facilities, both at home and in school. Almost 63 million adolescent girls live in homes without toilet facilities. Although schools were found to generally have at least one toilet facility, and about 60 per cent have separate facilities for girls, these facilities are often poorly maintained or non-functional. Moreover, an estimated 14% of children have no access to toilet facilities in schools.

Many girls and women face challenges managing their periods safely. In addition to persisting taboos, women and girls’ capacity to manage their periods is affected by a number of other factors, including limited access to affordability of hygiene sanitary materials and disposal options leaving many to manage their period’s ineffective, uncomfortable and unhygienic ways. The local cultures have beliefs, myths relating to menstruation. Almost always, there are social norms or unwritten rules and practices about managing Menstruation interacting with menstruating girls and women. Sometimes these are helpful but others have potential harmful implications. The general practice in some cases, the girls are told, that during their menstrual cycle they should not bathe.

Indira PriyadarsiniWomen’s Welfare Association (IPWWA) has been involved inCWS(Center for World Solidarity – Tarnaka) assisted School & Women programs on Menstrual Health Management programs. The objectives of the program include

  1. To increase awareness among adolescent girls and women on menstrual hygiene and empower girls for greater socialization

 

    • To train girls and women in preparation of sanitary napkins with the local available material and to ensure safe disposal of sanitary napkins in an environment friendly manner. 
    • To improve Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Schools