There is limited information on girls' menstrual hygiene practices and experiences at school in francophone sub-Saharan Africa. We conducted qualitative research to determine the challenges faced by school-aged girls in Mali, a culturally diverse and largely Muslim country. Research activities were conducted in eight urban and rural schools across the Sikasso and Koulikoro regions, including in-depth interviews with 26 girls and key informant interviews with 14 teachers and school directors. Results describe girls' practices for managing menstruation at school, their support systems and information channels, and their voiced recommendations for school WASH and education improvements.
Developing games as a qualitative method for researching menstrual hygiene management in rural Bolivia
The onset of menstruation has proven challenging for girls in school, with absenteeism, missed class time, reduced participation, teasing, fear, shame, and risky adaptive behaviours among the most commonly noted impacts in many settings. In 2012, Emory University and UNICEF conducted a multi-country formative study to gain a global perspective of girls' experiences. A compendium of tools was created to ensure investigation of common themes across all settings. This paper describes the process of adapting the focus group discussion (FGD) tool for Bolivia into a board game as a method to ease girls' discomfort discussing menstruation and elicit richer data. We describe the development of the menstrual hygiene management game, including structure and strategies for adapting FGD questions that increased interaction, stimulated detailed responses, and diversified participatory activities. A discussion of lessons learned will highlight elements of success and areas for improvement in future game adaptations. The paper discusses games as a research method for other topics and their applications for programme design, monitoring, and skills-based learning.