Menstrual hygiene remains a taboo in many settings, with poor knowledge and misconceptions as great a challenge as access to adequate facilities at both home and in school. In recent years, a solid body of evidence has revealed the discriminatory nature of many school environments, with menstruating girls 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. In recognition of the positive impact on girls’ education, initiatives around the world are addressing adolescent girls’ menstrual hygiene management (MHM) needs in coordination with ongoing efforts to improve water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities and services in schools. By offering an alternative to the stigma and marginalization often associated with menstruation, integrating MHM into WASH in Schools (WinS) empowers all students, especially girls. Since March 2014 the Canadian Government has been funding the project ‘WASH in Schools for Girls: Advocacy and Capacity Building for MHM through WASH in Schools Programmes’ (WinS4Girls Project). Phase I of the project involved the development and delivery of a webbased course to strengthen capacity of national research partners, WASH practitioners and policymakers to carry out rigorous research on MHM. In August 2015, 82 participants completed the WinS4Girls E-Course. With technical support from Emory University and UNICEF, national MHM working groups in 14 countries (Afghanistan, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan and Zambia) are currently conducting MHM research in schools. The results will inform the development of interventions to improve MHM in schools. This publication provides a summary of the course’s 12 modules. All course materials, including module presentations, research tools and background documents, can be accessed online at www.washinschoolsmapping.com.
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