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UNESCO HIV and Health Education Clearinghouse

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  1. Menstrual health and school absenteeism among adolescent girls in Uganda (MENISCUS): A feasibility study

    Management of menstruation can present substantial challenges to girls in low-income settings. In preparation for a menstrual hygiene intervention to reduce school absenteeism in Uganda, this study aimed to investigate menstruation management practices, barriers and facilitators, and the influence of menstruation on school absenteeism among secondary school students in a peri-urban district of Uganda. …

  2. New directions for assessing menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in schools: A bottom-up approach to measuring program success

    This dispatch aims to share lessons learned from the process of developing instruments to measure school participation, stress, and self-efficacy – outcomes that qualitatively link to girls’ experiences managing menstruation in school.

  3. The precocious period: the impact of early menarche on schooling in India

    Improvements in childhood nutrition increase schooling and economic returns in later life in a virtuous cycle. However, better nutrition also leads to an earlier onset of menstruation (menarche). In socio-cultural contexts where menarche adversely affects educational attainments, early menarche can thus break the virtuous cycle of girls’ human development. This paper focuses on one such context, India, and uses the Young Lives Longitudinal Study to show that starting menses before age twelve causes a 13% decrease in school enrollment rate. …

  4. Girls' empowerment through Education and Health (ASPIRE) Activity: final report, December 17, 2014-December 16, 2018

    USAID/Malawi launched the Girls’ Empowerment through Education and Health (ASPIRE) Activity in December 2014, beginning a bold cross-sector investment to improve the achievement of girls in upper primary and secondary school in Malawi. USAID’s investment in ASPIRE recognized that for girls’ to achieve academic success, they must enter and stay in school, be learning and safe while in school, and be healthy and supported by their community at all times. Output 1: Reading skills for girls in upper primary school improved. …

  5. Pupil absenteeism, measurement, and menstruation: Evidence from Kenya

    Impact evaluations focused on school absenteeism commonly use school records of untested quality or expensive spot-check data. We use a large dataset on more than 30,000 unannounced random spot-checks for 6,000 female and male students across 30 schools in Western Kenya, with equivalent school record entries. First, we confirm that while absenteeism is common overall, pubescent girls miss more schooldays than boys because of high incidence of school transfers. …

  6. Menstruation: Breaking the silence, taking action

    In 2014, the United Nations declared May 28 of every year as Menstrual Hygiene Day in recognition of the woes girls and women experience during menstruation. This was a reaffirmation of the world’s commitment to create more befitting living conditions for girls and women. Uganda commemorated the first Menstrual Hygiene Day in 2014 and in August of the same year held the first International Menstrual Hygiene Management Conference, here in Kampala. …

  7. Understanding and managing menstruation: a reader for learners

    This reader is a Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) initiative to provide information to pupils on understanding of menstruation and managing it well, particularly to beginners.

  8. Keeping African girls in school with better sanitary care

    For young girls in developing countries, not knowing how to manage their periods can hinder access to education. Research from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London demonstrates that in rural Uganda, providing free sanitary products and lessons about puberty to girls may increase their attendance at school.

  9. 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. …

  10. Menstruation and menstrual hygiene management in selected KwaZulu-Natal schools

    The focus of this study was on the impact of menstruation and menstrual hygiene management on girl learners in schools in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Issues related to cultural practices, teachings about menstruation, access to sanitary supplies necessary during menstruation and to sanitation, as well as psychological trauma, particularly at menarche (the time of their first menstruation), were looked at. The study also attempted to capture the feelings and experiences of learners and their knowledge at menarche.

  11. Menarche and its implications for educational policy in Peru

    Indigenous girls in rural areas live in the most extreme poverty and make up the least educated groups in Peru. These girls face numerous constraints to obtaining an education. Enrollment rates are lower for girls in rural areas, and their grade repetition rates are higher than those for boys. Adolescence is particularly difficult, as girls face a number of risks during this time. Once they begin menstruation, completing their primary school education is a formidable challenge, and opportunities for advancing to secondary school are limited. …

  12. Menstrual hygiene management compliance in primary schools in Uganda: a case of Lira Municipality

    The main objective of the study was to determine the influence of Menstrual Hygiene Management on school absenteeism of adolescent girls in 10 primary schools in Lira municipality. Our findings highlighted that; majority of the respondent’s onset of the menstruation was at 13 years of age, 60% of the participants used disposable pads. Most respondents changed their pads at least twice a day. Two fifth of the primary girls reported missing school for about 3 days during menstrual periods pointing to the lack of menstrual hygiene products. …

  13. Menstrual hygiene management to improve the attendance of primary school-aged girls in Central North, Burkina Faso

    How to improve the conditions for girls to attend school, to reduce failure and drop-out rates of adolescent girls, while ensuring their dignity and protection? This was the consideration that motivated the Kom-Yilma project, implemented by Catholic Relief Services in Burkina Faso and financed by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, to undertake a behavior-change strategy for menstrual-hygiene management in 118 schools in Bam and Sanmatenga Provinces. …

  14. Menstrual hygiene management among Bangladeshi adolescent schoolgirls and risk factors affecting school absence: results from a cross-sectional survey

    Background: Many adolescent girls in low-income and middle-income countries lack appropriate facilities and support in school to manage menstruation. Little research has been conducted on how menstruation affects school absence. This study examines the association of menstrual hygiene management knowledge, facilities and practice with absence from school during menstruation among Bangladeshi schoolgirls. Methods: We conducted a nationally representative, cross-sectional study in Bangladeshi schools from March to June 2013 among girls 11 to 17 years old who reached menarche. …

  15. 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. …

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