Putting the men into menstruation: the role of men and boys in community menstrual hygiene management
This paper examines how men and boys have an essential role in effective menstrual hygiene programmes and describes an initiative to engage men and boys in Uttar Pradesh, India. Cultural norms around menstruation are rooted in gender inequality and compromise women's ability to manage menstruation hygienically and with dignity. While there has been significant progress in developing comprehensive approaches to menstrual hygiene management (MHM), the role of men and boys in supporting menstrual hygiene has been lacking. In India, WaterAid and Vatsalya have targeted men and boys to address this gap in a programme that started in December 2011. Groups of men and boys were established and sensitized. Male teachers and masons were also trained to provide MHM services in school. Regular monitoring of software and hardware components, focus group discussions with male and female community members, and analysis of attendance registers has been undertaken to assess the emerging outcomes of the programme. As a result of the initiative, men and boys have begun to talk about menstruation more freely and are better able to support the MHM needs of women and girls within the household, community, and school.
The Bishesta campaign: a menstrual hygiene management intervention for people with intellectual impairments and their carers
This paper describes the components of the Bishesta campaign: a behaviour change intervention for menstrual hygiene management (MHM), targeting young people with intellectual impairments, and their carers in Nepal. The campaign uses two fictitious characters: Bishesta (a young person with an intellectual impairment) and Perana (her carer), and consists of three group training modules. ‘Period packs’, designed to make MHM behaviours attractive and easy to adopt, are given to the young people. Packs include storage bags, a bin, and stories about Bishesta menstruating and learning to manage as independently as possible, with Perana’s support. Carers receive a calendar to track the young person’s menstrual cycle. A Bishesta doll, with removable clothes, underwear, and a miniature ‘period pack’ is used in training to demonstrate MHM. Evaluation findings show the intervention is feasible at small scale, so further research on how to scale up the intervention in an evidence-based way is required.