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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. An agenda for policy and action to support girls through puberty and menarche

    Puberty and menstruation are a fundamental part of the second decade of girls’ lives. Yet many girls in low and middle-income countries know very little about the physical and emotional changes that are part of growing up. …

  3. 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.

  4. 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. …

  5. 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. …

  6. 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. …

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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. …

  10. Mapping the knowledge and understanding of menarche, menstrual hygiene and menstrual health among adolescent girls in low- and middle-income countries

    This paper maps the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices surrounding menarche, menstrual hygiene and menstrual health among adolescent girls in low and middle income countries in order to inform the future design of relevant policies and programming. The study of over 80 journal articles from a number of low and middle income countries confirmed that: (1) Many adolescent girls start their periods uninformed and unprepared. (2) Mothers are the primary source of information, but they inform girls too-little and too-late and often communicate their own misconceptions. …

  11. Do menstrual hygiene management interventions improve education and psychosocial outcomes for women and girls in low and middle income countries? A systematic review

    Background: Unhygienic and ineffective menstrual hygiene management has been documented across low resource contexts and linked to negative consequences for women and girls. Objectives: To summarise and critically appraise evidence for the effectiveness of menstruation management interventions in improving women and girls’ education, work and psychosocial wellbeing in low and middle income countries. [...] Conclusions: There is insufficient evidence to establish the effectiveness of menstruation management interventions, although current results are promising. …

  12. Menstruation and the cycle of poverty: a cluster quasi-randomised control trial of sanitary pad and puberty education provision in Uganda

    Background: Poor menstrual knowledge and access to sanitary products have been proposed as barriers to menstrual health and school attendance. In response, interventions targeting these needs have seen increasing implementation in public and private sectors. However, there has been limited assessment of their effectiveness. …

  13. WASH in schools empowers girls’ education: tools for assessing menstrual hygiene management in schools

    All children have the right to attend school and be actively engaged in their education without obstacles. Child-friendly environments are necessary for all children to thrive while at school. Creating and sustaining an enabling environment for children requires that their needs are known and met. Girls who are menstruating often do not have their needs fully met in their school environment. Many may face challenges managing menses in school that affect their overall educational experience. …

  14. Agua, saneamiento e higiene en la escuela. Fortalece la educacion de las niñas adolescentes en la zona rural de Cochabamba, Bolivia: estudio del manejo de la higiene menstrual en las escuelas

    El inicio de la menstruación presenta múltiples retos para las niñas escolares adolescentes. Muchas de ellas carecen de los conocimientos, apoyo y recursos para manejar la menstruación en la escuela. El propósito del programa Agua, Saneamiento e Higiene en las Escuelasa (WASH en Escuelas) es entender el alcance de los retos en educación y salud a los cuales se enfrentan las niñas adolescentes en el área rural de Cochabamba, Bolivia. Las conclusiones incluirán estrategias para mitigar esos retos y apoyar apropiadamente a las adolescentes en la escuela durante su menstruación. …

  15. Menstruation and education in Nepal

    This paper presents the results from a randomized evaluation that distributed menstrual cups (menstrual sanitary products) to adolescent girls in rural Nepal. Girls in the study were randomly allocated a menstrual cup for use during their monthly period and were followed for fifteen months to measure the effects of having modern sanitary products on schooling. While girls were 3 percentage points less likely to attend school on days of their period, the researchers find no significant effect of being allocated a menstrual cup on school attendance. …

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