May 28th is Menstrual Hygiene Day. This internationally recognized day “raises awareness of the challenges women and girls worldwide face due to their menstruation and highlights solutions that address these challenges.” (source)
This year’s theme is “education,” something all of us at Pure Water for the World take very seriously. Our WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) training teams work diligently to integrate menstrual hygiene management education into family, school, and community-wide programs.
In Honduras, we have incorporated menstrual hygiene management into our teacher workshops and training programs, so they can easily integrate the concepts into their existing curriculum. These trainings help teachers understand the importance of good-quality, gender-specific latrines so that they can advocate for improved sanitation access. We also help schools with building gender-specific latrines, in conjunction with hand-washing stations, that support girls having access to safe, hygienic toilets at school.
We are taking steps to add these components into our offerings in Haiti in the very near future. Read about our introductory work below, and stay tuned to learn more.
A lack of knowledge and facilities to manage menstruation often leads to girls missing school about one week each month. Can you imagine the consequences of missing a quarter of school days every year? Furthermore, many parents have limited education themselves and can’t help their children with missed schoolwork. This puts girls at a disproportionate disadvantage in higher educational achievement.
— PWW’s Events for Menstrual Hygiene Day 2017 —
This event will be held on May 19th at a local Trojes school. The title has two meanings:
- Menstruation is still taboo in rural Trojes, Honduras. We work to educate girls, families and schools to remove any negative stigmas.
- The sanitary pads we make by hand in rural Trojes, Honduras are crafted from umbrellas that no longer work. Since the material is impermeable, we fill them with old clothes to work as a sanitary economic option for girls and mothers.
For this event, parents at a local school, with almost 400 children, said “yes” to bringing their old umbrellas to be used for this good purpose. The Pure Water for the World team will be sewing pads with the mothers of fifth and sixth grade girls. We will create a small comic book as a manual, teaching what to do before and during menstruation, as well as how to make a pad in few easy steps.
The day will end with the inauguration of four gender-specific latrines for girls.
We will be introducing menstrual hygiene training into Haiti in the town of Les Cayes, where Hurricane Matthew left widespread destruction and devastation for so many families back in October 2016.
Our event will be held on May 20th, from 2:00-5:00pm (EST). We will be going to a clinic to work with teenagers who have scoliosis.
As we are just launching our menstrual hygiene training program in Haiti, we will conduct this initial workshop to teach the basics about menstruation and how to safely manage this natural, monthly cycle. Our goal is to create an open discussion that will help us to establish a baseline for assessing the taboo of menstruation among the Haitian rural culture in order to properly design our program for these girls, women and communities.
For this event, we are partnering with doctors who will be helping us speak about the hygiene aspects during menstruation that are specifically related to the conditions the female patients at this clinic experience.
We want to add that Menstrual Hygiene Management directly links to supporting the achievement of several of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Specific to SDG-6, focused on water and sanitation, the following is shared (click here to see diagram):
- Fact: “2.4 billion people have no access to improved sanitation facilities. Lack of access to facilities, or inadequate facilities that do not ensure privacy and hygiene, particularly affect women and girls.”
- Goal: “Ensure that all women and girls have access to water and sanitation facilities that are safe, socially and culturally acceptable and allow for the safe disposal of menstrual products.”
What can YOU do to support this effort?
Your support of Pure Water for the World not only provides life-saving clean water and safe sanitation, but also comprehensive hygiene education services that improve the overall health of communities.
You can help girls stay healthy and in school by supporting our menstrual hygiene training work in Honduras and Haiti with a financial donation. If desired, you can indicate that your gift is to be used for menstrual hygiene programs.
You can also show your support of this important issue by tweeting #MenstruationMatters and sharing on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.