There is increasing interest in exploring and addressing the menstrual hygiene management (MHM) barriers facing schoolgirls and female teachers in educational settings. Around the globe, WASH in Schools (WinS) focuses on fostering social inclusion and individual self-respect – and addresses MHM as a key agenda. By offering an alternative to the stigma and marginalization associated with hygiene issues, integrating MHM into WinS empowers all students, and especially encourages girls and female teachers. Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and UNICEF convened the Second Annual Virtual MHM in WinS Conference at UNICEF Headquarters in New York City on 21 November 2013. Building on recommendations from the MHM 2012 virtual conference, the 2013 conference focused on the research tools and instruments being used to explore MHM barriers and practices and to evaluate the interventions being trialed or implemented in various contexts. The one-day event brought together over 150 participants online, involving a range of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and MHM experts, global health and education researchers, social entrepreneurs and policymakers – from academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, advocacy organizations and UNICEF country offices implementing MHM-related activities. Another 30 in-person attendees at UNICEF Headquarters in New York included Columbia University faculty; experts from social entrepreneurial and non-governmental organizations working on MHM-related programming, research or advocacy; and UNICEF Headquarters staff from the WASH, Gender, and Education sections.
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