Girls’ health and hygiene is Country’s health and hygiene
Tuesday 25 th and Wednesday 26 th of July two interactive programs on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) have been conducted by ICA Nepal. The above mentioned line was presented by one of the girls group during the group work. Aim was to understand the basic facts linked to the menstrual cycle and how to manage it with dignity and without discomfort or fear. The programs were facilitated by Ms. Yashoda Nepali and Ms. Willemien Top, on behalf of ICA Nepal. Ms. Deepa Lama was also involved in Tuesday’s program. Last mentioned program was given at the Genesis Academy in Bhuwaldanda, Boudha while the program of Wednesday was held in Shantingar, New Baneshwor, both located in Kathmandu. The MHM program was targeted at school girls. At the Genesis Academy the group consisted of 62 girls, aged 11 to 16 years (5 th to 10 th grade). 36 girls from 13 to 16 years old (7th to 10th grade) participated in the program at the Everest Florida School.
As the program was interactive the school girls were encouraged to share their stories in regard to menstruation. By doing this, ICA Nepal hopes to create an environment in which girls feel comfortable to talk about menstruation-related issues. Besides this, a presentation was given aimed to change the (negative) perception of menstruation amongst Nepali people. During the presentation topics as puberty, menstruation (including menstrual cycle), MHM, menstrual management materials, changing places, disposal, effects of carelessness, challenges, stomach pain, period blood, school girls’ role in MHM were covered. Some points school girls came up with during the program are the following:
Use clean sanitary pads.
Dispose sanitary pads properly.
Change sanitary pads from time to time.
If we use clothes at the time of menstruation, we should wash it with soap and clean water and dry it in the sun.
We must create public awareness programs on the Menstrual Cycle.
We should not throw pad here and there so that the environment will be polluted.
We should not belief in superstitious beliefs.
We should conduct many sanitation programs.
It is a natural process. So, no awkward feelings should arise amongst us.
Various misconception like prohibition to go to the kitchen, temples and touching boys should be discouraged.
At the end of the program the ‘Surakshya Club’ (named after the sanitary napkins produced by ICA Nepal) was formed. In this club one representative of every grade is present. The club will function as a core group which will monitor the girls friendliness of the toilets at the school concerned. After one month the schools will be contacted again to check the progress made.This is a great way to put the lessons learned into practice and let school girls take ownership on their menstrual hygiene. Currently an evaluation program is being developed on behalf of ICA Nepal in order to improve the Menstrual Hygiene Management program. This evaluation will consist of a pre and post evaluation on the efficiency of the program. In this way ICA Nepal is able to learn from their experiences and to adapt the program to the target group.
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