A WSSCC Member Shares Five Lessons From Menstrual Hygiene Management Training

Date: 20th June 2017

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WSSCC member Neha Basnet recently took part in WSSCC’s Menstrual Hygiene Management training in Nepal.  She shares her insights and recommendations.

As part of WSSCC’s approach to support governments to include Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in national policy, we offer three types of MHM training:

  • Training of Trainers (ToTs) for middle level government officials and partners who have the mandate to train practitioners at different levels within government ranks
  • MHM Policy Training for decision-makers responsible for policy development
  • Strategies and Implementation Plans Training for specific groups

    Training Participants  in Nepal. ©WSSCC

Neha Basnet joined a week-long ToT session in Nepal in February, where the Government promotes and supports MHM. She has been working for the past three years with the NGO GUTHI, advocating for access to water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) for low-income urban populations and campaigning for awareness on Menstrual Hygiene.

Neha Basnet

She shares her important insights:

  1. We cannot talk about WASH without understanding the gender dimension

Neha states that gender mainstreaming in development planning and infrastructure design is essential to ensuring that everyone is reached. A better understanding of the challenges for women will improve programme design.

“For example, women and girls suffer from infections and poor health due to poor MHM, and women are required to spend hours collecting water for sanitary activities, opening them to the risk of being raped. Their challenges are to be considered in WASH planning,” she says.

  1. MHM is more than just using pads

The taboos and stigma surrounding menstruation lead to silence and suffering. “Safe menstruation involves breaking the silence with others in your immediate group, community and beyond, and being knowledgeable about reuse or safe disposal of sanitary pads. All this is possible when everyone is sensitized and involved in the process,” says Neha.

  1. We should use the tools and techniques available to us

MHM learning tools such as the menstrual wheel and video documentaries are useful – particularly to reach large audiences.  “There are many places in my country where deep rooted practices around menstruation have been prevalent. Girls have lost their lives because of dangerous practices.  Digital tools can help to bring harmful customs to light and  can be used to lobby for change,” she says.

  1. We cannot forget about menstrual waste disposal

“(The training taught us about) environmentally friendly ways to dispose of sanitary pads, which I think should be put in place everywhere. Some of the options proposed included autoclaving, incinerating the waste under fixed temperature or using biodegradable pads. There also needs to be awareness about separating menstrual waste from other household waste,” says Neha.

  1. We cannot afford to leave anyone behind

“If any human being is left out and denied the right to a dignified life then universal coverage cannot be declared. MHM training – and WASH programming more generally – can benefit from the participation of marginalized groups. We can learn about the psycho social stress that may be affecting them or even hindering their access to sanitation and health. We need to understand the problems that others face so that we can address challenges collectively,” Neha concludes.

We have also trained a large number of male MHM champions. ©WSSCC

Since 2012, the Council has conducted training for around 1400 people in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, India, Kenya, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Senegal, Tanzania and Togo.  

Trainers also have access to our exclusive MHM Trainers Platform on Yammer, where ideas and good practice are shared.

Send us an email on members@wsscc.org  or wsscc@wsscc.org if you would like to take part in WSSCC MHM training.

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