SNV Nepal celebrates the first ever global Menstrual Hygiene Day


Event

SNV global is a partner in Menstrual Hygiene Day celebrations aimed to 'break the silence around menstruation and raise awareness about the fundamental role that menstrual hygiene management (MHM) plays in enabling women and girls to reach their full potential'.

SNV global is a partner in Menstrual Hygiene Day celebrations aimed to 'break the silence around menstruation and raise awareness about the fundamental role that menstrual hygiene management (MHM) plays in enabling women and girls to reach their full potential'.

In recent years, there have been increasing efforts to address the needs of menstruating women and girls, particularly focussing on increasing school attendance. However, the issue of menstrual hygiene management is still a very sensitive—often taboo—subject which is not openly discussed, acknowledged or addressed.

The continued silence around menstruation combined with limited access to information at home and in schools results in millions of women and girls having very little knowledge about what is happening to their bodies when they menstruate and how to deal with it.

Additionally, a wide range of cultural taboos and social stigmas attached to menstruation impact the lives of women and girls around the world.

On the annual Hindu women's festival of Teej, women feel socially compelled to go to the Bagmati river to cleanse themselves of any sins they may have accidentally committed over the year whilst having their periods.

Many families in rural Nepal observe the tradition of 'chhaupadi' where menstruating women and girls stay in chau (a small hut- see pic at right) and are not allowed to enter their own homes. Other restrictions include not being allowed to prepare food, wash their bodies, enter places of worship, touch livestock or eat dairy or meat.

The 2010 MICS Report for Mid and West Region found that 20 percent of women aged 15–49 had to stay in a separate house and 12 percent had to stay in an animal shed.

Menstrual Hygiene Management is a one of SNV Nepal's Urban Sanitation and Hygiene programme impact indicators, meaning that SNV Nepal directly works with our local government and sector partners in the Mid West programme districts where we work, to advocate for and support agencies to recognise the need for menstrual hygiene facilities in homes, schools, offices and public places. Facilities should allow women to change sanitary pads with privacy and security, to wash themselves and their cloths adequately and dispose of any used menstrual hygiene products safely.

Under our Rural Sanitation and Hygiene programme, menstrual hygiene management is addressed whilst supporting local government to develop their post-Open Defecation Free strategies.

For this first international Menstrual Hygiene Day, SNV Nepal has supported national activities in our Karnali programme districts with our local NGO partners and will be reporting back on the events across the Mid West.

Also, SNV's new Sector Leader, Nadira Khawaja is attending the national screening of the movie 'Monthlies' and discussion between development partners and government on how the momentum on menstrual hygiene be maintained for 2014. 

A selection of quotes from SNV staff in Nepal highlight why menstrual hygiene is crucial to every woman and girl to effectively manage her natural 5 days, wherever she is:

Lets start from own self to break the silence around menstrual hygiene--Hari Shova, SNV WASH Advisor

We should stop exploitation and eradicate taboos around menstruation--Kapil Gyawali, SNV WASH Advisor

It matters where goddess are worshipped; real women devalued--Meekha Tuladhar, SNV Agriculture Advisor

Menstruation matters because it is not an issue of sin or shame--SNV WASH Advisor Anup RegmiI

Becuase I care about my mother and sister. Menstruation matters!--Keshav Das, SNV Carbon Finance Advisor