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UNESCO HIV and Health Education Clearinghouse

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  1. A comparison of the menstruation and education experiences of girls in Tanzania, Ghana, Cambodia and Ethiopia

    The barriers to menstrual hygiene management faced by adolescent schoolgirls in low-income countries are gaining interest at practice and policy levels. The challenges include inadequate water, sanitation and disposal facilities for the management of menses with privacy and dignity, and insufficient guidance to help girls feel confident in attending school during menses. The studies described here aimed to examine how menarche impacts the lives of schoolgirls in three low-income countries (Ghana, Cambodia and Ethiopia). …

  2. The shrinking world of girls at puberty: violence and gender-divergent access to the public sphere among adolescents in South Africa

    Participatory mapping was undertaken with single-sex groups of grade 5 and grade 8–9 children in KwaZulu-Natal. Relative to grade 5 students, wide gender divergence in access to the public sphere was found at grade 8–9. With puberty, girls' worlds shrink, while boys' expand. At grade 5, female-defined community areas were equal or larger in size than those of males. Community area mapped by urban grade 8–9 girls, however, was only one-third that of male classmates and two-fifths that of grade 5 girls. Conversely, community area mapped by grade 8–9 boys was twice that of grade 5 boys. …

  3. The girl with her period is the one to hang her head. Reflections on menstrual management among schoolgirls in rural Kenya

    Background. The onset of menstruation is a landmark event in the life of a young woman. Yet the complications and challenges that can accompany such an event have been understudied, specifically in resource-poor settings. As interventions aim to improve female attendance in schools, it is important to explore how menstruation is perceived and navigated by girls in the school setting. This research conveys rural Kenyan schoolgirls' perceptions and practices related to menstruation. Methods. Data were collected at six rural schools in the Nyanza Province of Western Kenya. …

  4. 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. …

  5. 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. …

  6. Sexual and reproductive health communication between mothers and their adolescent daughters in northern Nigeria

    The authors conducted structured interviews and focus groups to investigate reproductive health (RH) communication practices among 184 mother–daughter pairs in Ungogo, northern Nigeria. Transcripts were analyzed using the grounded theory approach. A total of 136 mothers reported discussing RH issues with their daughters. The majority of daughters acquired RH education from their mothers. Parents were more likely to discuss marriage, menstruation, courtship, premarital sex, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) than other sex education topics. …

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