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UNESCO HIV and Health Education Clearinghouse

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  1. Menstrual hygiene in South Asia: a neglected issue for WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) programmes

    In total, women spend around six to seven years of their lives menstruating. A key priority for women and girls is to have the necessary knowledge, facilities and cultural environment to manage menstruation hygienically, and with dignity. Yet the importance of menstrual hygiene management is mostly neglected by development practitioners within the WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) sector, and other related sectors such as reproductive health. …

  2. Investing in very young adolescents' sexual and reproductive health

    Very young adolescents (VYAs) between the ages of 10 and 14 represent about half of the 1.2 billion adolescents aged 10–19 in the world today. In lower- and middleincome countries, where most unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, maternal deaths and sexually transmitted infections occur, investment in positive youth development to promote sexual and reproductive health (SRH) is increasing. Most interventions, though, focus on older adolescents, overlooking VYAs. …

  3. A critical analysis of UNESCO's International Technical Guidance on school-based education for puberty and sexuality

    Preparing children and adolescents for sexual safety and reproductive responsibility lies at the heart and purpose of puberty/sexuality education. The document of International Technical Guidance released by UNESCO in December 2009 aims to provide an evidence-based and rights-based platform offering children and adolescents vital knowledge about relationships, sexuality, reproduction and HIV/AIDS, within a structured teaching and learning process in the compulsory school years. …

  4. Sanitation and Education

    One in five children worldwide does not complete upper-primary school, with particularly high drop-out rates among pubescent-age girls that may limit economic opportunities and perpetuate gender inequality. This paper tests whether educational attainment is stymied by endemically inadequate school sanitation that threatens children's health, privacy, and safety. …

  5. Puberty education and menstrual hygiene management

    This power point presentation accompanies the UNESCO publication on Puberty Education and Menstrual Hygiene Management. With the aim of increasing implementation of effective programmes at country level, the power point presentation presents the main points and findings of the publication. These issues underscore the inter-sectoral nature of school health requiring education, linkages to health services and safe water and sanitation. This publication builds on these and highlights UNESCO’s contribution and comparative advantage, the process of teaching and learning.

  6. Study on menstrual management in Uganda

    This pilot research study on the impact of menstrual hygiene on girls in school is primarily aimed at the Ministry of Education and Sports and the National Sanitation Working Group. Within the context of Uganda, the results of this study will be used to provide evidence-based advocacy on the role of upper primary girls, from the ages of 13-18, whom have started menstruating, with a specific emphasis placed on the issues and challenges that they face at school. …

  7. We keep it secret so no one should know - A qualitative study to explore young schoolgirls attitudes and experiences with menstruation in rural western Kenya

    Background: Keeping girls in school offers them protection against early marriage, teen pregnancy, and sexual harms, and enhances social and economic equity. Studies report menstruation exacerbates school-drop out and poor attendance, although evidence is sparse. This study qualitatively examines the menstrual experiences of young adolescent schoolgirls. Methods and Findings: The study was conducted in Siaya County in rural western Kenya. A sample of 120 girls aged 14–16 years took part in 11 focus group discussions, which were analysed thematically. …

  8. Growing up at school. A guide to menstrual management for school girls

    This booklet has been written to help school girls manage the critical period when they enter adolescence between the ages of 10 and 14. Adolescence is the time during which boys and girls grow from childhood into adulthood and changes take place in their bodies. During this period, known as puberty, menstruation starts in girls.

  9. Sanitary pad interventions for girls' education in Ghana. A pilot study

    Background: Increased education of girls in developing contexts is associated with a number of important positive health, social, and economic outcomes for a community. The event of menarche tends to coincide with girls’ transitions from primary to secondary education and may constitute a barrier for continued school attendance and performance. Following the MRC Framework for Complex Interventions, a pilot controlled study was conducted in Ghana to assess the role of sanitary pads in girls’ education. …

  10. WASH in schools empowers girls' education. Proceedings of the menstrual hygiene mananagement in schools virtual conference 2013

    There is increasing interest in exploring and addressing the menstrual hygiene management (MHM) barriers facing schoolgirls and female teachers in educational settings. Around the globe, WASH in Schools (WinS) focuses on fostering social inclusion and individual self-respect – and addresses MHM as a key agenda. By offering an alternative to the stigma and marginalization associated with hygiene issues, integrating MHM into WinS empowers all students, and especially encourages girls and female teachers. …

  11. Good policy and practice in health education. Booklet 9: Puberty education and menstrual hygiene management

    This booklet is the ninth in a series of publications that address key themes of UNESCO’s work in HIV and health education. It is one of several contributions to school-based health promotion that UNESCO has produced to complement our work in HIV and sexuality education. The booklet lays out the context and rationale for education sector involvement, the characteristics of good quality puberty education and menstrual hygiene management, as well as key issues for programme development, implementation and sustainability. …

  12. Menstruation, sanitary products and school attendance: Evidence from a randomized evaluation

    Policy-makers have cited menstruation and lack of sanitary products as barriers to girls' schooling. We evaluate these claims using a randomized evaluation of sanitary products provision to girls in Nepal. We report two findings. First, menstruation has a very small impact on school attendance: we estimate that girls miss a total of 0.4 days in a 180 day school year. Second, improved sanitary technology has no effect on reducing this (small) gap: girls who randomly received sanitary products were no less likely to miss school during their period. …

  13. Having sex, becoming somebody: A qualitative study assessing (sexual) identity development of adolescents living with HIV/AIDS

    A growing number of adolescents are living with HIV/AIDS. For their well-being and for prevention, age- and culturally appropriate interventions become increasingly important. This qualitative study was conducted as the first step to develop a sexual and reproductive health (SRH) intervention. The study's objective was to assess the impact of HIV and related contextual conditions on identity formation of adolescents living with HIV/AIDS (ALH) in the domains of physical, cognitive, social, and sexual development. Data were collected using focus group discussions (FGDs). …

  14. Menstrual hygiene matters: a resource for improving menstrual hygiene around the world

    This document is an educational resource for improving menstrual hygiene for women and girls in different settings, including communities, schools and emergencies. The 9 modules and toolkits: bring together examples of good menstrual hygiene practice from around the world; provide guidance on building competence and confidence to break the silence surrounding the issue; encourage increased engagement in advocacy on menstrual hygiene. It is for use by all professionals who are concerned with improving the lives of girls and women. …

  15. Menstruation and school absenteeism: Evidence from rural Malawi

    The provision of toilets and menstrual supplies appears to be a promising strategy to promote adolescent girls' school attendance and performance in less developed countries. In this article, we use the first round of the Malawi Schooling and Adolescent Survey (MSAS) to examine the individual- and school-level factors associated with menstruation-related school absenteeism. …

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