WASH in Schools (WinS) fosters social inclusion and individual self-respect. By offering an alternative to the stigma and marginalization associated with hygiene issues, it empowers all students – and especially encourages girls and female teachers. In recognition of the positive impact on girls’ school attendance and achievement, initiatives around the world are addressing adolescent girls’ menstrual hygiene management (MHM) needs through WinS programming. Such interventions are increasingly implemented in both development and humanitarian emergency contexts.
To provide an opportunity for sharing MHM research and practice, and to enable joint discussion on the way forward, Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and UNICEF co-hosted the Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools Virtual Conference on 27 September 2012. The conference highlighted outstanding efforts to tackle the MHM challenges schoolgirls face, a topic that until recently was considered too secretive and taboo to address in most contexts.