WASH in schools is also important for health and well-being. The quality of sanitation facilities in schools can impact attendance rates especially of girls, especially once they have started to menstruate. Therefore, there is a need to educate students on health and hygiene promoting activities such as as hand washing and personal hygiene. For girls, it became apparent that there was little understanding about menstruation, and how to manage it in a hygienic manner.
In the long term, poor menstrual hygiene management for many women and girls’ can have devastating outcomes such as debilitating urinary tract infections, loss of education and future employment opportunities. Most women and girls in developing countries face gender-related difficulties. Taboos abound with regards to menses limiting open discussions within the family. Many resort to using old cloths, pages from their note books, leaves or other unsuitable materials to catch the flow. Lack of private places to wash and dry the cloths can force them to re-use still half-soiled and humid materials, making them feel uncomfortable and dirty
Therefore, IFA’s SSHNP sought to address this need through its new initiative to promote better understanding of girls’ menstrual challenges by distributing well-made reusable sanitary pads so that they may attend school during menses without fear of leaks.
The menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) is implemented in five primary schools per year both in Addis Ababa and in Amhara region with the goal of reaching 1,500 girls per year. Each schoolgirl received 6 reusable sanitary pads and when available accompanied with 1 soap and under wear for rural girls. Through the MHM program girls also receive menstrual hygiene management training.