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Story and Perspective

Menstrual Hygiene Day 2022: Boosting Supplies and Support and Ending Stigma

Ethiopia Bangladesh

We believe everyone deserves to manage their periods safely, hygienically, and with dignity. We still need access to menstrual supplies even while navigating a global pandemic, even in places of conflict and crisis. From refugee camps in Bangladesh to schools in Ethiopia, we must continue providing access to menstrual supplies, supporting menstrual hygiene, and working to end the stigma around periods.

Menstrual Hygiene Day is a chance to bring together the voices and actions of non-profits, government agencies, individuals, and more to promote good menstrual health and hygiene for all women and girls.

Addressing Menstruation Stigma in Ethiopia

Pathfinder Act with Her staff, school staff, and health extension workers in the entryway to the new MHM building of the Yewiha Midir Primary School. Photo: Tricia Petruney

Pathfinder’s Act with Her project is part of a growing global movement of girls and changemakers who are advocating for better menstrual health and hygiene management, particularly during adolescence and within school environments. Puberty and menstruation education are core topics covered for the youngest adolescent participants, ages 10-14.

  • Going to School with Your Period: Stigmatizing or Supported?: Tricia Petruney, Pathfinder’s Act with Her Project Director, shares her personal experiences of not feeling supported during her adolescent years when it came to menstruation and how those same stigmas continue to effect adolescent girls in Ethiopia.
  • Menstruation Matters in Very Young Adolescents: Read how the Act with Her project highlights and addresses menstruation and menstrual hygiene on the frontlines. And learn what adolescents, mentors and frontline staff learned during educational sessions

Improving Menstrual Hygiene Management for Refugees in Bangladesh

Peer group session on menstrual hygiene management. Photo: Monira Hossain

“Now, I feel comfortable using the sanitary pads as I can feel free up to six hours… I also learned where to find the sanitary pads with their uses and menstrual hygiene. I proudly share the messages I learnt with my younger sister and some friends.” 

Jannaharu Bibi, 15, Participant

Since 2017, approximately 867,000 Rohingya have fled violence in Myanmar and sought refuge in Bangladesh. Fifty-two percent of Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar are women and girls. In an emergency and humanitarian setting such as this, women and girls have specific needs that are often unmet.

One of the most immediate—and least talked about—needs is support for menstrual hygiene management (MHM). For displaced women and girls, changes in their environment, social support networks, and socioeconomic status can impact their ability to manage menstruation. Insufficient access to sanitary supplies, latrines, and sanitary or disposal facilities challenge their safety and privacy. 

Learn how we addressed this issue through the implementation of our pilot project: Improving Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergencies for Rohingya Adolescent Girls in Cox’s Bazar >>

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