Through menstrual health programming, Plan International USA seeks to ensure that girls and women can confidently and comfortably manage their periods. Each day, more than 800 million women and girls around the world have their periods, yet many face significant barriers to managing their periods safely and easily.
Addressing this issue requires a comprehensive approach, meeting women and girls’ immediate needs for supplies and facilities, and ensuring they have the knowledge and skills to understand what menstruation is and their options for managing it. It also means creating and fostering environments in which girls are supported instead of facing restrictions, shaming, and teasing.
- Creating girl-friendly sanitation facilities: Women and girls require safe, private sanitation facilities with easy access to water and hand washing stations, as well as a place to dispose of used menstrual products. Our guiding principle is to create girl-friendly facilities in schools, health clinics, and communities.
- Improving access to sanitary products: In many cases, women and girls do not have access to quality, hygienic menstrual hygiene products. By partnering with social enterprises and the private sector, Plan works to improve the availability, affordability, and range of menstrual hygiene products.
- Increasing knowledge and skills: Due to the stigma and silence surrounding this issue, women and girls, and men and boys, often know very little about menstruation and menstrual hygiene. To address this critical gap, Plan promotes menstrual hygiene education through community platforms such as girls’ clubs, parenting groups, and teacher trainings.
- Enabling a supportive environment: For many women and girls, periods are a source of shame and embarrassment, due in part to the social taboos and stigmas associated with menstruation. In some cultures these taboos lead to serious restrictions on the daily activities of menstruating women and girls. Plan is working to break the silence and dispel the stigma by engaging with communities through participatory channels such as community theater, radio spots, and interactive trainings.