Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) Awareness program conducted in Yoeseltse MSS conducted

Menstruation is inarguably a natural part of a woman’s health cycle. But, for those who live in underserved areas, it is their most dreaded time of the month. Menstrual Hygiene has remained a taboo subject – stigmatized even amongst practical engineering circles used to dealing with unmentionable such as excreta and shit.

About 50-52% of the female population is of reproductive age and most of them are menstruating every month. The majority of them have no access either to clean and safe sanitary products or to a clean private space in which to change menstrual cloths/pads and to wash.

552-4-552x310Menstruation is supposed to be invisible and silent, and sometimes, menstruating women and girls are supposed to be invisible and silent too. Millions of girls and women are subjected to restrictions in their daily lives simply because they are menstruating. Besides the health problems due to poor hygiene during menstruation, the lack of access to sanitary products, girls are often forced to miss school. The low-income women and girls are more susceptible to infections and other devastating consequences. In addition, the lack or unaffordability of facilities and appropriate sanitary products has pushed menstruating girls temporarily or sometimes permanently out of schools, having a negative impact on their right to education.

The best place to make an impact on improving the lives of girls and woman is in water and sanitation. The time has come to promote – loudly and unashamedly – the role of good Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) as a trigger for better and stronger development of girls and women on their personal, educational and professional. There is also clear evidence to show that ignoring good menstrual hygiene is damaging not just women and girls directly but also for schools, health sector, society, business and economies.

MHM Awareness was conducted on 12th September 2015 jointly by RSPN and Comprehensive School Health Programme (CSHP), Department of Youth and Sports (DYS) of the Ministry of Education with objectives:

  • To educate and make aware on menstrual hygiene to adolescent girls in schools;
  • To support girls in learning and practicing good menstrual hygiene management;
  • To sensitized and educate the school management on menstrual hygiene management and requirement of girl friendly toilets and sanitary products; and
  • To educate boys on menstrual hygiene and importance of providing peer-support to adolescent and menstruating girls in the school.

Sanitary pad designed by Health CoordinatorThe day-long MHM awareness programme was facilitated by Mrs. Deki Tshomo, Dy. Chief from CSHP, DYS-MoE and Mr. Tsheten Dorji, Project Officer from RSPN who are well experienced on the subject. The facilitators used Dzongkha and English languages simultaneously to convince the students more effectively. In addition, the facilitators used pictorial images (posters), participatory adult learning tools, and MHM and Hand-washing animated videos aiming for easy understanding by all age groups of students. The students were educated, sensitized and made aware on as follows:

  • Students (girls and boys) from senior classes were educated on importance of maintaining quality sanitary toilet, hygienic use of toilet and hand washing with soap will improve their health by reducing the incidence of water borne related diseases.
  • Students were educate on menstrual hygiene and make aware on requirement of safe and private sanitation facilities in schools for adolescent girls for the better health results to pursue their education.
  • Sensitized the students on importance of good menstrual hygiene management in schools and need of peer-support by boys and male teachers to menstruating girls.
  • Educated the students on importance of learning and practicing good menstrual hygiene management: using of preferable sanitary pads, changing the sanitary pads regularly and disposing the used sanitary pads in the pits to prevent from bacterial infections, washing the genital areas and keeping the areas between the legs dry to avoid soreness an chaffing development, and taking balance diet with lots of fruits and vegetables to replace the blood loss and prevent anemia.
  • Demonstrated and trained the students on identification of suitable local materials for making safe, affordable and reusable pads, and designing and stitching the pads by themselves.

About 138 students (116 girls and 22 boys) from classes 6-10 and 3 teachers of Yoeseltse Middle Secondary School participated in MHM Awareness Programm. Through this awareness programme, the students discovered their actual sanitation situation and realized how unhygienic toilets, insufficient and unsafe sanitary facilities in schools to the adolescent girls results to physical and mental toll on their lives. It was a great success and could convince the boys, male teachers and girls at the highest level. The male participants expressed that they are well aware on MHM and importance of providing peer-support to menstruating girls and they assured to act as a “change agent” in promoting MHM and it importance in their local community and other schools.  

RSPN would like to thank the CSHP-DYS, MoE, Education Sector of Samtse Dzongkhag, Yoeseltse School Management and individuals who involved for the support in making the programme successful.


Students and Teachers attended the MHM Awareness Programme

Students No. of Girls No. of Boys No. of Teachers
Class 10 34 6 3 (1 Female and 2 Male)
Class 9 26 1
Class 8 25 4
Class 7 20 4
Class 6 11 7
Total 116 22 3

Reported by: Tsheten Dorji, Project Officer, WASH