MHM in Ten: advancing the MHM agenda in WASH in schools

Conference Reports
19 p.

In recent years, there has been growing attention to the challenges faced by menstruating schoolgirls in low- and middle-income countries. A solid body of research conducted across numerous countries and contexts has documented menstruating girls’ experiences of shame. The evidence has revealed the discriminatory nature of many school environments, with menstruating girls (and female teachers) unable to adequately manage their monthly menses with safety, dignity and privacy. This, in turn, may have negative impacts on girls’ ability to succeed and thrive within the school environment. There may also be implications for girls’ sexual and reproductive health, self esteem and empowerment and economic potential. In response to these findings, a growing number of academics, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), United Nations agencies, ministries of education, private sector companies and social entrepreneurs are seeking to address the menstrual hygiene management (MHM) challenges facing schoolgirls in relation to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in schools. On 30 October 2014, representatives from a range of organizations came together in New York for ‘MHM in Ten’, a working meeting co-hosted by UNICEF and Columbia University that sought to map out an agenda to dramatically improve MHM in schools over a decade of concentrated, multiagency, multi-sector coordination. The meeting followed the Third Annual Virtual MHM in WASH in Schools Conference (held on 29 October 2014).

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