Menstrual Hygiene Day 2018

WaterAid/ Prashanth Vishwanathan

On 28 May 2018, Menstrual Hygiene Day was observed across the country. WaterAid India organised and participated in a wide range of activities to mark the day.

Menstrual Awareness Conclave: Niine Movement

On 28 May 2018, a panel discussion was organised by the NIINE Movement. At the menstrual awareness conclave, Avinash Kumar, Director Policy and Programmes, was a part of the panel to discuss Menstrual Hygiene Management Awareness: The road to achieving universal awareness.

During the discussion, Avinash emphasised on promoting behaviour change at a greater level and safe disposal of sanitary absorbents. He quoted, “It is not simply about toilets. It is about a larger behaviour change”.

Pushing the boundaries on the MHM dialogues 2018

In 2017, Menstrual Hygiene Alliance India (MHAI) organised the first national consultation with a focus on normalizing menstruation, menstrual hygiene products and waste management. This Menstrual Hygiene Day, the focus moved a step forward at the second national consultation. Pushing the boundaries on the MHM dialogues 2018, held on 31 May 2018, included –

  • Unheard voices from the field
  • Unpack the health and safety considerations of menstrual hygiene products
  • Deliberate how WASH facilities can respond to MHM needs
  • Debate over the diverse role of media in creating greater awareness about menstruation, and
  • Involving men and boys in the conversation

The sessions facilitated inputs and insights from government officials at the district and state level, regulatory bodies, organisations implementing MHM programs, medical professionals, researchers and scientists, and the donor community. Later during the day, an MHM café was set up for various organisations to showcase their work and interact with other sector players.

The ABC of Menstruation – Girliyapa

On 28 May 2018, Girliyapa, an online platform that raises awareness through light-comic videos, invited Nitika Sarah, Project Manager, WaterAid India to discuss the ABC of menstruation. Girliyapa Channel Head, Tracy Dsouza, and Nikita discussed the ABC of menstruation. The usage and disposal of sanitary absorbents, appropriate hygiene practices and a Q&A on the myths and facts of menstruation were some of the key topics of discussion. Watch the full video here.

Imagine a day without water, during your periods!

During an interaction with some women on what is the most important thing/resource that they require during their periods, we received some interesting answers and reactions. Water, assumed to be a given, a majority of the women spoke about hygiene. However, is water really a readily available resource for us, especially menstruating women?

Watch the video to know what woman of Delhi had to say about it. #NoShame

Community-led activities to advocate #NoMoreLimits

In Bhubaneshwar, WaterAid India in collaboration with Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR), AAINA, National Alliance of Women (NAWO) and many other agencies along with various departments of Government of Odisha, organised an event to mark the day.

Girls and women participating in the activities.
Girls and women participating in the activities.

The objective of the programme was to have an interactive discussion on breaking the taboos and myths around menstruation and menstrual hygiene management. The interactive session was involved 120 women and adolescent girls who work as frontline cadres from slums communities of Bhubaneswar. The session revolved around various myths associated with menstruation and how those myths can affect one’s health. Also, several hygiene practices to be followed during menstruation were discussed.

Arundati Muralidharan, Manager – Policy, WaterAid India discussing about safe disposal of menstrual waste
Arundati Muralidharan, Manager – Policy, WaterAid India discussing about safe disposal of menstrual waste

Additionally, a roundtable consultation was held focussing on appropriate menstrual waste disposal. The consultation saw the participation of 30 experts from various government departments, civil societies, and academicians. Setting the context of the round-table, Arundati Muralidharan, Manager – Policy, WaterAid India highlighted various menstrual absorbents and viable options for disposal of these absorbents.

Bishakha Bhanja, Regional Manager, WaterAid India addressing the gathering.
Bishakha Bhanja, Regional Manager, WaterAid India addressing the gathering.

Bishakha Bhanja, Regional Manager-East regional office, WaterAid India emphasised on the fact that a dialogue involving all concerned stakeholders and civil society was essential for promotion of biodegradable menstrual absorbents as well as proper disposal mechanism. Dr. D K Behera, Senior Environmental Scientist, State Pollution Control Board, shared various legal and environmental implications of improper menstrual waste disposal. The house came out with a set of recommendation to be submitted before the concerned authority of the state will be followed-up on a regular basis.

In Debagarh district of Odisha, WaterAid India and its partner JEETA held workshops at the community level. The purpose was to raise awareness about the challenges women and girls face due to menstruation and to highlight solutions that address these challenges.

Women and girls attending the discussion in Debagarh district
Women and girls attending the discussion in Debagarh district

Village level cadres and volunteers participated in an orientation programme, post which they visited the communities to organise awareness programmes. In both the villages, focused group discussions (FDGs) were held with adolescent girls and women.

In Bhadrak district of Odisha, WaterAid and its partner Pragati Jubaka Sangha (PJS) marked the day in three villages of the district, namely Bramhandiha, Malbad, and Bijaynagar. A series of activities were organised, such as an awareness meeting involving women and adolescent girls, a rangoli making competition among women and adolescent girls on menstrual hygiene, a short film show, and a quiz competition on menstrual hygiene. Also, a Kishori Mandal (adolescent girls group) was formed to take the menstrual hygiene management drive ahead.

In Bhopal, an awareness programme focusing on MHM was organised at the anganwadi centre of ward 49, Indira Nagar. An interactive awareness session and quiz was also facilitated with the participation of adolescent girls and women from the community as well as mohalla committees.

Also, in Sehore district of Bhopal MH day was celebrated which was participated by 200 women and girls from all 4 blocks. The event was organised in collaboration with ICDS and health department. A range of activities including games, quiz, and film show was held.


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