Over 25,000 women and girls have improved their knowledge and practice of menstrual hygiene in India, thanks to the AKDN’s Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) programme.
Kishori Group meetings help adolescent girls like Sangeeta to come together to openly discuss menstruation concerns and the best practices for managing menstrual hygiene.
Working in both rural and urban areas of India, the MHM programme started in 2015 as part of the AKDN Comprehensive Sanitation Initiative. Its works to:
- Strengthen women’s and girls’ knowledge of menstrual hygiene practices and safe disposal of menstrual waste;
- Engage communities in making informed choices regarding menstrual absorbents, and facilitate access to these products;
- Encourage community support to create an enabling environment around MHM and to address harmful socio-cultural norms;
- Empower women and girls to discuss menstruation freely and to practice safe MHM without cultural or practical restrictions;
- Collaborate with governments and other stakeholders for better service and product delivery.
Other women and girls mention the benefits of the MHM programme:
As a part of the menstrual hygiene management training sessions for adolescent girls and women, Rudi Behen was given an orientation on good menstrual health practices. She has found this training useful in her personal life, as well as her work life, and is now confident in managing her menstruation.
AKF India is creating MHM-secure schools by strengthening girl groups, securing access to products, ensuring access to soap and water, and providing functional facilities.
Sharda Behen believes that girls should not be held back because of menstruation and has been proactive in engaging young girls on raising their confidence on talking about menstruation and making them comfortable to practice good menstrual hygiene practices.
Many of the girls who had dropped out of school at menarche expressed interest and have taken steps to resume the studies that they left or to start taking jobs to support their families. Learning about their menstrual health has empowered Najra and her peers from her MHM group to make changes in other aspects of their lives too.
As a mother of two, Ranjan Behen wants to ensure her daughter remains in school and can receive as good of an education as her son. Through the MHM sessions, she has understood how important it is to manage menstruation hygienically, and how her daughter can manage her menstruation in school and at home.
The AKDN field-level MHM training sessions are inclusive for all women to attend. Manjula Behen has found this training useful for her, especially during her time spent on the farm.
The Menstrual Hygiene Project is part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) Comprehensive Sanitation Initiative, which in itself is part of the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (“Clean India Mission”).
The Initiative is a five-year programme aimed at facilitating access to improved sanitation and hygiene for over 700,000 people in six states in India. Its implementation is a collaboration of several AKDN agencies: the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP), the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) and the Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS). A key component of this initiative is strengthening knowledge and practice of Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) for women and girls in these states. For more information, please see the publication entitled: Menstrual Hygiene Management Programme