Menstrual Hygiene Day strives to create a world where menstruation is no longer a barrier to health, education, and gender equality.
Menstrual Hygiene Day, launched in 2014 and celebrated annually on May 28th, is an international awareness campaign that aims to break the silence and stigma surrounding menstruation, promote menstrual hygiene management, and advocate for improved access to menstrual products and facilities worldwide. The day serves as a platform to shed light on the challenges faced by menstruating individuals worldwide and advocate for their rights to hygienic menstrual management. By raising awareness and understanding about menstruation, Menstrual Hygiene Day strives to create a world where menstruating individuals can manage their periods safely, hygienically, and with dignity.
In societies across the globe, menstruation is still considered a taboo topic, leading to silence, shame, and misinformation surrounding this natural bodily process. Menstruating individuals face discrimination, exclusion, and limited access to resources necessary for managing their periods effectively. By encouraging dialogue, Menstrual Hygiene Day normalizes the topic of menstruation, challenges social norms, and empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their menstrual health. Education helps combat stigma, dispel myths, and equip people with the knowledge needed to manage menstruation hygienically and safely.
Another crucial aspect of Menstrual Hygiene Day is advocating for improved access to menstrual products and sanitation facilities. Individuals around the world, even in the wealthiest of nations, still lack access to clean and affordable menstrual products. Insufficient access to these essential items often forces people to resort to unhygienic alternatives as well as miss school, work, and other activities during their monthly cycles.
Menstrual Hygiene Day further emphasizes the need for proper sanitation facilities, including clean toilets and safe disposal of menstrual waste. Lack of adequate sanitation infrastructure disproportionately affects menstruating individuals, compromising their health, safety, and dignity.
Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) is an essential component to PWW’s comprehensive WASH programs. To reinforce trainings and messaging about this important topic, PWW teams in Haiti and Honduras host and support activities being held in celebration of Menstrual Hygiene Day.
Haiti: Menstrual Hygiene Day 2023
PWW’s WASH Training and Consulting Services team in Haiti celebrated Menstrual Hygiene Day in Limonade on May 29th. The primary objective of the day’s training was to improve the health, wellbeing, and dignity of vulnerable women and girls by providing them with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to manage their menstrual hygiene effectively and safely. The team also introduced the making of reusable sanitary pads – the first workshop of this kind to be hosted in Limonade by PWW.
- Improve the health, wellbeing, and dignity of vulnerable women and girls by providing them with the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to effectively manage menstruation with confidence.
- Provide participants with practical skills, including making reusable sanitary napkins and demonstrating how to safely wash and dry them.
- Empower participants by giving them a sense of ownership with respect to their personal menstrual hygiene management and encouraging them to share experiences and ideas with others.
- Anatomy and Physiology of Menstruation
- Menstrual Cycle Tracker
- Convenience and Menstrual Hygiene Product Options
- Hands-on: making reusable sanitary napkins
- Discussion of common menstrual problems with effective solutions
- Menstrual waste management
- Role play scenarios
- Myths and misconceptions related to menstruation
Sixteen women participated in the day’s activities. Participants included community workers and family members from communities in Limonade where PWW is working.
Post-training surveys indicated that 100% of participants were satisfied with the training, rating the content shared as “very important” and “crucial”.
Each participant sewed her own re-usable sanitary pad. The women were especially grateful for this practical session, telling PWW that they have really wanted to use safe menstrual hygiene protection, but they have lacked the resources and knowledge. Store-bought pads are both cost-prohibitive and not easily accessible in their communities. The training has given them the skill and confidence to make their own sanitary pads. This will help them save money and protect their health. By eliminating the use of disposable pads, it also reduces waste, protecting the health of their surrounding environment.
All participants said they will share their newly acquired knowledge with other members of their community.
RESULTS. As a result of the training, participants can:
- Discuss the anatomy and physiology of menstruation and the menstrual cycle.
- Explain the importance of good menstrual hygiene.
- Discuss the different types of menstrual hygiene products available, such as pads, tampons, and menstrual cups that they can use.
- Show how she can use each product and discuss their pros and cons of each.
- Make their own reusable sanitary pad.
- Discuss common menstrual problems such as cramps, heavy bleeding, and irregular periods, and their management.
- Advise on how to manage menstrual discomfort, such as the use of heat therapy, over-the-counter pain relievers, and other healthy practices commonly adopted by women in the community.
- Discuss safe and hygienic methods for disposing of menstrual waste, including the proper use and disposal of menstrual material, such as wrapping it in toilet paper before disposing of it in a trash can.
- Discuss the environmental impact of improper disposal of own sanitary pad.
- Demonstrate how to properly wash and dry reusable own sanitary pad.
- Discuss common myths and misconceptions related to menstruation and provide accurate information to dispel these myths.
Menstrual Hygiene Day brings together voices and actions from many individuals and sectors and encourages governments and leaders to make this issue a political priority…to break the silence, raise awareness and change negative social norms around menstrual hygiene management. Prioritizing menstrual hygiene management raises awareness and provides education about how menstruating girls and women can best manage their monthly cycles. It helps them understand that menstruation does not prevent them from living a healthy, fulfilling, and independent life.
This training empowers participants to take control of their menstrual health and improve their overall well-being. The activities we conducted not only provided participants with hands-on experience in managing their menstrual hygiene but also encouraged open and honest discussion about this often-stigmatized topic.
We are convinced that the importance of sensitizing and training women and girls can help them identify and overcome barriers and manage their menstrual cycle without worry. Participants now understand that all of the negative remarks they have heard about periods are myths. They have also learned new ways to relieve menstrual cramps, such as exercising and eating a healthy diet. The day was a success!
– Junior Seraphin, WASH Training Coordinator, PWW Haiti