“Breaking the Taboo: Overcoming Challenges in Menstrual Hygiene Management for Girls and Women in Adagom 1,3 and Ukende Refugee Settlement, Nigeria

Project Title: Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) among girls and women of reproductive age.

The objective of the project titled “Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) among girls and women of reproductive age” is to increase awareness about menstrual hygiene management among girls and women in these locations. By doing so, the project aims to create a hygienic environment where girls and women have access to sanitary materials, which will ultimately boost their self-esteem and empower them against cultural norms, taboos, social discrimination, shame, and anxiety in public spaces.

In order to achieve these objectives several key interventions was implemented:

Education and Awareness: One of the primary steps in improving menstrual hygiene management is providing comprehensive education and awareness programs. These programs should focus on dispelling myths and misconceptions surrounding menstruation while promoting accurate information about menstrual health and hygiene practices. This can be done through workshops, community meetings, school-based programs, and the distribution of educational materials.

Access to Sanitary Materials: Ensuring that girls and women have access to affordable and quality sanitary materials is crucial for proper menstrual hygiene management. This can be achieved by establishing partnerships with local suppliers or manufacturers to provide subsidized or free sanitary pads or other menstrual products. Additionally, initiatives like community-based production of reusable sanitary pads can be explored to promote sustainability and affordability.

Improved Sanitation Facilities: Access to clean and private sanitation facilities is essential for maintaining good menstrual hygiene. The project was aimed to improve existing facilities or construct new ones that are specifically designed to meet the needs of girls and women. These facilities would have adequate water supply, proper waste management systems, and privacy features to ensure the dignity and comfort of users.

Engaging Men and Boys: Menstruation is often surrounded by stigma and silence, perpetuated by cultural norms and taboos. Engaging men and boys in discussions about menstrual hygiene can help break down these barriers and foster a supportive environment. By involving them in awareness campaigns and educational programs, they can become advocates for menstrual hygiene management, challenging harmful stereotypes and promoting gender equality.

Monitoring and Evaluation: Regular monitoring and evaluation of the project’s impact are crucial to assess its effectiveness and make necessary adjustments. This can be done through surveys, interviews, focus group discussions, and data collection on indicators such as knowledge levels, access to sanitary materials, utilization of improved facilities, and changes in attitudes towards menstruation.

By implementing these interventions, we where able to improve the overall menstrual hygiene management among girls and women of reproductive age, and empower them with knowledge, resources, and support to manage their menstruation safely, hygienically, and with dignity. in Adagom 1,3 and Ukende refugee settlement in Ogoja town, Cross River state, Nigeria.

Menstrual hygiene management (MHM) is a critical issue that affects girls and women of reproductive age worldwide. Lack of access to menstrual hygiene materials and information has been a persistent problem, leading to various challenges such as girls missing school during their menstrual period, limited access to sanitary materials, and difficulties in managing menstruation safely, hygienically, and with dignity. This project aims to address these issues and improve the overall menstrual hygiene management among the target beneficiaries.

One of the key problems that this project seeks to solve is the issue of girls missing school during their menstrual period. Menstruation can often be accompanied by discomfort, pain, and stigma, which can lead to girls staying home from school. This not only affects their education but also perpetuates gender inequality. By providing girls with the necessary menstrual hygiene materials and information, they can manage their menstruation more effectively and confidently, enabling them to attend school regularly.

Improving access to sanitary materials is another crucial aspect of this project. Many girls and women in low-income communities or marginalized populations struggle to afford or access sanitary pads or other menstrual hygiene products. This lack of access can result in unhygienic practices, such as using unsanitary materials like rags or leaves, which can lead to infections and other health issues. By ensuring a steady supply of affordable and accessible sanitary materials, this project aims to promote better menstrual hygiene practices.

Furthermore, managing menstruation safely, hygienically, and with dignity is an essential goal of this project. Menstruation is a natural process that should not be associated with shame or embarrassment. However, due to cultural taboos and societal norms, many girls and women feel stigmatized during their periods. Providing comprehensive information about menstrual hygiene management can help dispel myths and misconceptions surrounding menstruation while promoting positive attitudes towards it. Additionally, ensuring access to clean water, private sanitation facilities, and proper waste disposal methods can contribute to safer and more hygienic menstrual practices.

The target beneficiaries of this project include 400 girls aged 11 to 19 and 370 women of reproductive age (20-40 years old). Among these beneficiaries, 70% are refugees, while the remaining 30% are members of the host community. This mix of beneficiaries aims to foster peaceful co-existence and address the specific needs of vulnerable individuals within these communities.

The implementation activities of a Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) project among girls and women of reproductive age typically involve a range of strategies aimed at promoting awareness, education, and access to menstrual hygiene products. These activities are designed to address the challenges faced by girls and women in managing their menstruation in a safe and dignified manner. Below are some common implementation activities that are often carried out as part of MHM projects:

Seminar and Sensitization: One of the key activities in an MHM project is conducting seminars and sensitization programs to raise awareness about menstrual hygiene management. These sessions aim to educate girls and women about the biological process of menstruation, debunk myths and misconceptions, and promote healthy practices. The seminars also provide information on the importance of using clean and hygienic materials during menstruation.

Training Volunteers: To ensure effective implementation of the project, volunteers are trained on menstrual hygiene management and safety measures. These volunteers play a crucial role in disseminating information, providing support, and addressing the specific needs of girls and women in their communities. They are equipped with knowledge on proper menstrual hygiene practices, including the use and maintenance of menstrual hygiene products.

Targeted Focus Group Discussions: In addition to general awareness programs, targeted focus group discussions are conducted to address the specific needs of vulnerable groups such as teenage mothers. These discussions provide a safe space for open dialogue, where participants can share their experiences, concerns, and challenges related to menstrual hygiene management. The aim is to provide tailored support and guidance to these individuals.

Creation of MHM Clubs: MHM clubs are established in schools or community settings to create a supportive environment for girls and women. These clubs serve as platforms for education, peer support, and empowerment. Through interactive sessions, girls learn about menstrual health, develop life skills, build confidence, and challenge social norms surrounding menstruation.

Provision of MHM Materials: Access to affordable and hygienic menstrual hygiene products is crucial for girls and women. MHM projects often include the provision of materials such as reusable sanitary pads, shaving sticks, disinfectants, undergarments, and soaps. These materials are distributed to ensure that girls and women have the necessary resources to manage their menstruation safely and with dignity.

Advocacy and Policy Engagement: MHM projects also involve advocacy efforts to influence policies and practices related to menstrual hygiene management. This may include engaging with policymakers, advocating for the inclusion of MHM in school curricula, and promoting the integration of MHM into national health programs. By advocating for supportive policies, MHM projects aim to create an enabling environment for girls and women to manage their menstruation effectively.

Monitoring and Evaluation of Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) project among girls and women of reproductive age is crucial to ensure the success and relevance of the project in the communities. Here are some ways to ensure quality data collection systems and monitoring of the project:

  1. **Monthly activity and assessment report**: Regular reporting of activities and assessments is essential to track the progress of the project. This report should include details of the activities carried out, the number of beneficiaries reached, and the impact of the project.
  2. **Detailed data management analysis and reporting**: A detailed analysis of the data collected is necessary to identify gaps and work on them. This analysis should be done regularly to ensure that the project is on track.
  3. **Using timelines to ensure implementation of activities**: Timelines should be set for the implementation of activities to ensure that they are carried out on time. This will help to avoid delays and ensure that the project is completed within the set time-frame.
  4. **Effective meaningful and inclusive participation**: The involvement of volunteers, beneficiaries, government, and civil society stakeholders is essential to ensure quality data collection systems. This participation will help to ensure that the data collected is accurate and relevant.
  5. **Targeting beneficiaries**: The project is targeting about 120 girls and women of reproductive age in the three refugee settlements and the host communities. The response from beneficiaries as to their change in habit to positive coping mechanisms will be a demonstration of the success of the project.

To ensure the success of the project, it is essential to monitor the impact of the project regularly. The response from beneficiaries as to their change in habit to positive coping mechanisms will be a demonstration of the success of the project. The following search results provide additional information on menstrual hygiene management:

Capacity to Deliver a Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) Project

Our organization the possess the following capacity that enables us to successful deliver the Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) project due to several reasons:

National Languages and Cultures: Your organization has the advantage of using both national languages and cultures to reach out to the beneficiaries, making it easier to communicate the importance of menstrual hygiene management and create a culturally sensitive approach.

Trust and Confidentiality: Your organization has gained the trust and confidentiality of the community through previous activities and initiatives, which is crucial in addressing sensitive topics like menstrual hygiene. This trust will facilitate open discussions and encourage participation from the target audience.

Medical Professionals and Social Workers: Your team consists of medical professionals and social workers who can train others to effectively cover the community. This expertise will ensure that the project is well-informed and tailored to the specific needs of the target population.

Background and Experience

Our organization has been sensitizing the community on menstrual hygiene since 2019, and in 2020, you won the UNHCR Innovation Award for COVID-19 on safety and preventive responses with a financial package of $15,000. This experience and recognition demonstrate your organization’s commitment and capacity to address menstrual hygiene management in the target community.

In conclusion, the implementation activities of a Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) project among girls and women of reproductive age encompass a range of strategies including seminars, sensitization programs, training volunteers, targeted focus group discussions, creation of MHM clubs, provision of MHM materials, and advocacy efforts. These activities aim to raise awareness, provide education, address specific needs, and ensure access to hygienic menstrual hygiene products.

UNHCR Innovation Award for COVID-19