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UNESCO HIV and Health Education Clearinghouse

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  1. A time for global action: addressing girls' menstrual hygiene management needs in schools

    Summary Points: There is an absence of guidance, facilities, and materials for schoolgirls to manage their menstruation in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Formative evidence has raised awareness that poor menstrual hygiene management (MHM) contributes to inequity, increasing exposure to transactional sex to obtain sanitary items, with some evidence of an effect on school indicators and with repercussions for sexual, reproductive, and general health throughout the life course. …

  2. A toolkit for integrating menstrual hygiene management (MHM) into humanitarian response

    The Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in Emergencies toolkit aims to provide streamlined guidance to support organizations and agencies seeking to rapidly integrate MHM into existing programming across sectors and phases.

  3. The Last Taboo. Research on menstrual hygiene management in the Pacific: Solomon Islands, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea. Final report

    Managing menstruation effectively and with dignity can be challenging for girls and women in low and middle-income countries. Currently there is limited research on menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in the Pacific region. This report presents general findings from research funded through the Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), including its innovationXchange. It represents collaboration between DFAT’s Pacific Division and DFAT’s innovationXchange following an internal DFAT Ideas Challenge. …

  4. Menstruation as a barrier to education?

    Increasing education for girls is an important policy priority in many developing countries, where secondary school enrollment often remains lower for girls than for boys. Some researchers and policymakers have argued that menstruation may be causing girls to miss a significant number of school days. At the maximum, some have estimated that girls might be missing as much as 10 to 20 percent of school days due to menstruation. Anecdotal evidence seems to support this. Girls report missing school during their periods and lacking access to modern sanitary products. …

  5. WASH in Schools for Girls E-Course: Increasing national capacity to conduct research on menstrual hygiene management in schools

    Menstrual hygiene remains a taboo in many settings, with poor knowledge and misconceptions as great a challenge as access to adequate facilities at both home and in school. In recent years, a solid body of evidence has revealed the discriminatory nature of many school environments, with menstruating girls unable to adequately manage their monthly menses with safety, dignity and privacy. This, in turn, may have negative impacts on girls’ ability to succeed and thrive within the school environment. …

  6. Attention to menstrual hygiene management in schools: An analysis of education policy documents in low- and middle-income countries

    Recent decades have seen a push for gender parity in education in low resource countries. Attention is shifting to how school environments hinder the achievement of gender equality. One effort, primarily led by the water, sanitation and hygiene sector, includes a focus on the needs of menstruating girls. This policy review aims to understand how the education sector is addressing menstruation management. We conducted an analysis of select education policy documents in 21 countries, including a frequency count and narrative analysis of relevant keywords. …

  7. Girls in control: Compiled findings from studies on menstrual hygiene management of school girls. Ethiopia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe

    SNV launched the five-country Girls in Control menstrual hygiene pilot programme in January 2014, building on insights and experience gained from implementing school-based water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes in 14 countries. This report presents the findings of baseline studies on the menstrual hygiene management of schoolgirls, conducted in the five project countries: Ethiopia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

  8. WASH in schools empowers girls’ education: Proceedings of the 5th Annual Virtual Conference on Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools

    Capturing girls’ voices: Channelling girls’ recommendations into global and national level action. Globally, there are around 600 million adolescent girls. Adolescence is a pivotal transitional period that requires special attention to ensure progress for all girls, especially the most vulnerable, and poses a unique opportunity to break intergenerational cycles of poverty and to transform gender roles. The onset of puberty and menstruation can pose an additional barrier to a girl’s personal freedom, and can signal entry into a different role in their family and wider society. …

  9. Creating village champions for girls’ education

    Families, communities and village governments are often the key decision-makers regarding girls’ lives. They can also be the most difficult to persuade in terms of delaying girls’ marriages. Their support can ensure that changes initiated by Samata are sustained well after the end of the programme.

  10. Schools become safer and friendly for girls

    Samata works with 64 schools across 49 villages in two districts of Bagalkot and Bijapur in northern Karnataka. Teachers and members of the School Development Management Committee (SDMC) are given gender training, as they are key stakeholders in transforming schools into gender-responsive teaching and learning environments. …

  11. Fostering adolescent girl leaders

    At the heart of the Samata intervention is the development of a cadre of adolescent girl leaders who will sustain changes in favour of girls’ education and gender equality in their villages. The programme mentors girls to become confident and vocal young feminists, active in their communities and schools. Samata aims to equip them with the knowledge and skills to effectively negotiate a space that is hostile to women. Overall, the Samata programme has reached 3,600 girls across 69 villages in 2 districts of Bagalkot and Bijapur in northern Karnataka.

  12. Mentoring adolescent boys to reduce gender-based violence

    According to the theory of change that underlies the Samata programme, one important factor in keeping girls in school is to reduce gender-based violence by their male peers. This brief explains how Samata works with adolescent boys.

  13. Early and unintended pregnancy and the education sector: evidence review and recommendations

    Based on a review of available evidence, UNESCO, in collaboration with partners, has developed recommendations to guide ministries of education (MoEs) around the world on actions that they can implement in order to prevent early and unintended pregnancy (EUP) and to ensure that pregnant and parenting girls can continue education in a safe and supportive school environment, free from violence, stigma and discrimination.

  14. Cash transfers: magic bullet or fundamental ingredient?

    Comment on a study published in The Lancet Global Health by Audrey Pettifor and colleagues on cash transfers, school attendance and the reduction of HIV risk behaviours in adolescent girls.

  15. The effect of a conditional cash transfer on HIV incidence in young women in rural South Africa (HPTN 068): a phase 3, randomised controlled trial

    Cash transfers have been proposed as an intervention to reduce HIV-infection risk for young women in sub-Saharan Africa. However, scarce evidence is available about their effect on reducing HIV acquisition. The authors aimed to assess the effect of a conditional cash transfer on HIV incidence among young women in rural South Africa. Based on their research findings, the authors draw the conclusion that cash transfers conditional on school attendance did not reduce HIV incidence in young women. School attendance significantly reduced risk of HIV acquisition, irrespective of study group. …

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