How is Plan International Promoting Menstrual Hygiene Management?
With programs throughout the world, Plan International is a leader in menstrual hygiene management (MHM). Whether Plan is educating girls or providing proper disposal bins after disasters, its programs are making a difference around the world.
Here are a few places where Plan is working with communities to make a positive impact:
Uganda: The Menstual Hygiene Management (MHM) Project
The MHM project is a five-year initiative launched in July 2012 that extends the previous work of a School WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) project that took place from 2010-2012. The overarching project objective was to help 100,000 rural women and girls manage their menstruation effectively. The specific project objectives were:
- Improve knowledge, attitudes, and practices among rural women, adolescent girls, boys, and men.
- Increase access to affordable and hygienic sanitary pads among rural women and adolescent girls.
- Improve capacity of income generation for women as AFRIpads dealers.
To achieve these objectives, Plan Uganda has partnered with AFRIpads to improve menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in rural Uganda. To increase knowledge, attitudes, and practices, the program trains girls, boys, and senior teachers on MHM. The Village Health teams also receive training on MHM so they can support the program within communities. In addition, Plan has helped to develop educational materials related to MHM. To increase access to affordable and hygienic sanitary pads, the program has partnered with a local social business, AFRIpads. Plan purchases the pads from AFRIpads and then sells them to local vendors at a subsidized rate. These local vendors then sell the pads to local girls and women. To increase income generation, Plan has trained local women and men to sell the AFRIpads throughout the community. Not only does this improve access to sanitary pads, but it also provides these vendors with a reliable source of income.
Philippines: MHM Research Study in Masbate
In 2012, in collaboration with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Emory University, and the Department of Education in the Philippines, Plan conducted a qualitative research study in Masbate to assess the menstruation-related challenges that girls face in school. Girls, boys, teachers, and mothers in 10 villages were interviewed for their opinions. The results showed that many girls lack the knowledge, support, and resources to manage menstruation in schools. At the conclusion of the study, the report provided schools with guidelines for the provision and protection of WASH facilities for adolescent girls.
India: The Young Health Project
With funding from Astra Zeneca, this program developed a training curriculum consisting of five flip books, five technical documents, and five facilitator guides on the themes of:
- Health and well-being
- Lifestyle education
- Menstrual hygiene
- Reproductive health
- Water and sanitation
The project reaches 40,000 girls and boys. By 2012, 585 peer educators had been trained and given the responsibility of sensitizing 15 youth every month.
India: Right to Optimal Health— Promoting Safe Sanitary Practices in Adolescent Girls
This program, which was funded by Procter and Gamble and took place from June 2011 to May 2012, aimed to improve the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of adolescent girls on reproductive health and menstrual hygiene. 140 master trainers were trained, and 300,063 adolescent girls in 1,870 schools in Uttar Pradesh were oriented on menstrual hygiene and reproductive health. In addition to the trainings, the girls received a complimentary pack of sanitary napkins.
Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan Response
In response to Typhoon Haiyan, Plan provided methods of MHM as part of the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) response. Plan provided 7,000 families with separate garbage bins in or near female toilets for the disposal of menstrual pads. Plan also provided hygiene kits to 40,000 families, which included sanitary pads for MHM.