Girls Glory - Improve Menstrual Health in India

by Reaching Hand
Girls Glory - Improve Menstrual Health in India
Girls Glory - Improve Menstrual Health in India
Girls Glory - Improve Menstrual Health in India
Girls Glory - Improve Menstrual Health in India
Incinerator installation in the Govt School
Incinerator installation in the Govt School

You will never solve poverty without solving water and sanitation! - Its a well known saying by Matt Damon.

The importance of WASH facilities in schools not only decides the quality of infrastructure but also the quality of education. The Stench of a non-functional restrooms change the atmosphere of teaching and learning completely. The study says one of the reasons many girl children drops out of school because of this. In the other hand, with the adequate WASH facilities and child friendly hygiene promotion encouraged the increase in school enrolment and retainment. This is our motivation to keep working on this project called “Girls Glory”. 

Despite the persisting pandemic, as an NGO we continue to contribute our society with the renovation of existing non-functional restrooms and construction of Restrooms as per the UNICEF usage norms of 1:35 (1 Toilet for 35 children). After choosing the best location in consultation with the school management, contractors from the empaneled contractors, were assigned construction work through ‘Work Orders’ with detailed specifications withquality check, monitoring and payment norms. Progress was monitored jointly by the school management and Reaching Hand Team. Renovation and Construction of restrooms in 8 schools successfully completed and handed over the respective schoolmanagement.

INSTALLATION OFINCINERATOR: 

The Incinerators have been installed in all the 4 schools, introduced the girls how to use it.

SENSITIZATIONPROGRAMS

Follow up sessions on WASH and MHM was organized.  We have focused on Group discussion and brainstorming to recall their learning. The children actively participated and benefited through these sessions. As a result, the cleanliness of the washroom was ensured for the children to have access to hygienic environment.

Sensitization workshops on WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) for girls and boys and MHM (Menstrual Hygiene Management) for girls, were conducted in all the 8 schools. The focus was on building awareness on WASH and MHM practices by engaging visual aids and participatory activities.

Any change in behavior is difficult to achieve, particularly in the short term, as it is very personal and influenced by culture and social aspects particularly on menstrual practices. Hence it must be addressed simultaneously at different levels of household and schools, to increase the chance of its acceptance. The workshops therefore began with the starting point of helping the children to understand their current knowledge and practices pertaining to hygiene. The session ended with participants gaining a clear understanding of the best practices in changing their behavior and practices in WASH and MHM.

METHODOLOGY USED

The participatory workshop included activities, open discussion, scenarios, storytelling, pictorial images, MHM and Hand Washing animated images - all aimed at facilitating easy understanding by all age groups of students. Active participant engagement in all learning activities was encouraged.

WASH AWARENESSPROGRAMME 

Personal hygiene plays a major role to promote healthy life. Hence, to protect our health and keep our life healthy, WASH awareness programme was conducted in these 8 schools. The beneficiaries were oriented on importance of maintaining cleanliness in Restrooms, hygienic use of toilets, role of personal hygiene including hand washing, in reducing incidence of water bornediseases.

Sensitization covered the following major components

¦        Oral Hygiene (with 5steps)

¦        BathingRitual

¦        HairCare

¦        FootHygiene

¦        ToiletingHygiene

¦        Hand Hygiene (with 7 steps of handwashing)

¦        Coughing and SneezingHygiene

At the end of the session the 1469 children were provided with health kits.

 

 MENSTRUAL HYGIENE MANAGEMENT 

Menstrual Hygiene awareness programs were conducted in the 8 schools for 847 adolescent girls. Girl children were oriented on importance of maintaining and practicing menstrual hygiene, safe disposal of sanitary napkins, myths, and taboos etc. 

Workshops were started with the icebreaking session to make the beneficiaries comfortable with the topic. Following inputs were imparted to the children during the session:

  • Socio-cultural beliefs and taboos surroundingmenstruation
  • Girls’ understanding and knowledge ofmenstruation
  • Current menstrual hygiene practices inschools
  • Teaching ofpuberty
  • Interpersonal relationshipsand
  • Psycho-socialsupport

Recommendations for better menstrual hygiene management Students were educated on importance of adopting good menstrual hygiene practice to enjoy good health in pursuing their education,best practices on hygienemanagement.

The workshop was divided into two sessions. Topics discussed in first session were puberty and hormones, premenstrual symptoms, myths, menstrual cycle, using preferable sanitary pad, taking balance diet with lots of fruits and vegetables to replace the blood loss and prevent anemia, tips to maintain menstrual cramps, followed by ice breaking session on word puzzle. The second session focused on the importance of 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 development. At the end of the session, MHM kits were distributed to 847 adolescent girls in 8schools.

POST PROJECT MANGEMENTWORKSHOP

Post project management workshop and teacher’s day program were organized on 30th September 2020. The aim of this workshop was to enable the school management and the teachers to own the project and to derive collectively the post project plan for their schools. Hence, to ensure maintenance of the washrooms, we brought out a significant change by promoting hygienic sanitation facilities for the children studying in government schools. It has provided a positive change and self-confidence among girls students and privacy in accessing the detached toilet units.

The workshop was more interactive, and they have shared their experience about the project participatory on how it is helping the children especially in rural and Urban Bangalore. The education department requested the Reaching Hand to continue the good work in other government school in future, at the same time Reaching hand appreciated the teachers and HMs and Honored them with mementos for their good work. Mr. Girish president of education department south 1 shared his view and appreciated the efforts of Fidelity and Reaching Hand for bringing great impact in students’ life. 

BRC, BRP and other education department heads also attended the program and expressed their view and appreciated Reaching Hand’swork.

My name is Shakuntala I am working as a teacher in GHPS Thipenahalli School, I am glad to share my view on the workshop which was conducted by Reaching Hand. Just after the WASH and Menstrual Hygiene workshop we started hearing about COVID 19 pandemic. No one predicted that this virus will spread so rapidly around the world. I am happy that our children are safe because they had health and hygiene workshop just before Pandemic.

The workshop has created a big impact on student’slife.

The session was very helpful for students now they wash their hands frequently following 7 steps of hand washing; they carry hand towels which was distributed by Reaching Hand, they follow all hygiene practices. I am happy to say there is a big impact after theworkshop.

I am so glad to share that so far not even a single student is affected by COVID 19 in our school, children are making use of Health and Hygiene and menstrual hygiene kits which are very useful and helpful. We thank Reaching Hand for conducting such an impactful session for our students.

Mr. Girish president of education department shared his view and appreciated the efforts of Fidelity and Reaching Hand for bringing great impact in students’ life. He stated that many NGOs used to collect the data and later there was no response from them. But in the case of Reaching Hand, we experienced a trust worthy relationship in responding to the needs quickly in brining transformation in the Govt. schools in both urban and rural Bangalore, impacting the lives of marginalized students. We request them to continue their services to reach out to many Govt. schools.

OUTCOMES: 

1.Girls have an understanding on how to calculate their menstrual cycle, which was one of the major drawbacks as most of the girls come unprepared to school during their menstruationdays.

2.Menstrual Hygiene Management was explained during the sensitization workshop. Girls are now acquainted on the proper.

 

Sanitary kits for Girls Student
Sanitary kits for Girls Student
MHM Sessions
MHM Sessions
WASH workshop after Toilet construction
WASH workshop after Toilet construction
Training on how to use the incinerator
Training on how to use the incinerator

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Toilet facility installed in Govt School
Toilet facility installed in Govt School

“Hygiene is two thirds of health” – It’s the well-known Lebanese proverb and its very much applicable these days like never before.

 The pandemic of COVID 19 has struck the entire globe in an unprecedented disastrous fashion and humanity as whole is panic stricken as to how to deal with the situation and overcome the consequences. This is the time that calls all of us to lend a hand of support to each other and join a collective action front to defend the race against the pandemic. Reaching Hand is planning various proactive interventions to tackle the crisis.

As wearing the mask is very essential  In Reaching Hand intervention 60000 government students benefitedwith face maskas it was very importantduring the 10th examination in rural and urban Bangalore., While wearing a cloth mask prevents people from potentially transmitting an infection to others.

SANITATION FACILITIES AND CHILDREN’S EDUCATION

One in five girls of primary-school age are not in school, compared to one in six boys. One factor accounting for this difference is the lack of sanitation facilities for girls reaching puberty. Girls are also more likely to be responsible for collecting water for their family, making it difficult for them to attend school during school hours. The installation of toilets and latrines may enable school children, especially menstruating girls, to continue their education by remaining in the school. many children do not have access to suitable sanitation facilities in government schools,due to absence of basic sanitation facilities in schools’ girls are absent to school and feel shy and “do not talk” Taboos are the main concern in the community.

 Girls Glory specially focusing on Toilet issues of Government schools specially for girls so they do not miss the school during menstruation.

Highlights

Inthis quarter in Reaching handconstructed the toilet in 6 schools, around 19 unites in Urban and Rural Bangalore and its ready for inauguration.

WASH AWARENESS PROGRAMME 

Personal hygiene plays a major role to promote healthy life, to protect our health and keep our life safe. WASH awareness program was conducted in Urban and rural Bangalore. The beneficiaries were oriented on importance of maintaining cleanliness in Restrooms, hygienic use of toilets, role of personal hygiene including hand washing, in reducing incidence of water borne diseases.

Sensitization covered the following major components: 

o   Oral Hygiene (with 5steps)

o   BathingRitual

o   Hair Care

o   FootHygiene

o   ToiletingHygiene

o   Hand Hygiene (with 7 steps of handwashing)

o   Coughing and SneezingHygiene 

At the end of the session the children were provided with health kits. 

MENSTRUAL HYGIENE MANAGEMENT 

Periods don’t stop in Pandemics, menstrual health in the time of covid -19                              Even without a pandemic to contend with, managing one’s period is a heavy burden on many of the hundreds of millions of girls and COVID-19 has made this burden far heavier. While periods do not stop in a pandemic, there is an increased risk that the already limited resources to support menstrual health do stop.

  • Access to WASH facilities becomes more difficult for many girls, because of self-isolation and lockdown.
  • Access to affordable menstrual hygiene materials becomes more difficult, because of shortages due to stock-outs, panic buying, price surges, disruptions in the supply chain or increased family financial stress.
  • Social rejections and stigma may increase because of disruption in the usual information and awareness channels (e.g. funding diverted from women’s health services, school closures).

                                       Reaching hand is actively working to make sure that access to these vital resources: WASH facilities, menstrual hygiene products and information, DO NOT STOP during a pandemic. Refreshing session on WASH and MHM has been conducted for girls and boys. this pandemic crisis is very challenging for us to reach our beneficiaries, well we found a solution, keeping distance and with precautionary measures we reached out to beneficiaries and conducted session on WASH and MHM , and also children are taught on COVID 19 measures and precautions to be followed to stay safe and healthy.

Menstrupedia comic books and MHM kit distribution

                                  Menstrupedia comic is the period guide for girls ages 9 and above. Menstrupedia comic is a guide to educate the girls  around the world on menstruation. Menstrupedia aims to help girls understand the process of puberty in women. It seeks to destroy myths around menstruation and to normalize the biological process. Our goal of distributing the comic book is to break the taboos from children’s heart about the perception of menstruation. We teach them how to adapt to the natural changes in life and celebrate them.

                                       It helps girls to understand their bodies better and not let society shame them for their biology. It represents a stage of adolescence girls who haven’t started their period yet and want to learn more about them,girls who have just started their period and want advice on how to prepare for them and girls who have had periods for some time and might be curious about the myths surrounding them, We believe this book is helping all the girls to be strong  and overcome shyness which is associated with being a girl in this society.

Installation of Incinerators: 

The Incinerators have been installed in urban and rural Bangalore. 

Case study 

Shravani a young girl studying in 6th grade in GHPS Bagalur colony. She stated that the menstrual hygiene and management session was an eyeopener for her. She has not yet attended puberty hence she was hesitant hear this information in the beginning. But the facilitator made her feel comfortable where she enabled all the children to participate through storytelling and games. Shravani is happy that she receives this information which has helped her to prepare herself to face her puberty gracefully and confidently.

I learnt about hormonal changes, physical changes, how to maintain personal cleanliness during menstruation, healthy diet and safe way of using sanitary pads and its disposal. 

This session has really enabled me to do away with myths related to menstruation. Now I do not have any fear and I am prepared to face my first cycle withcourage and confidence. I would like to thank Fidelity and Reaching Hand for creating confidence in me.

MENSTRUAL HYGIENE MANAGEMENT
MENSTRUAL HYGIENE MANAGEMENT
Wash Awareness workshop
Wash Awareness workshop
Menstrupedia comic books distribution
Menstrupedia comic books distribution
Installation of Incinerators
Installation of Incinerators
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SHY AWAY THE TABOO AND MARCH TOWARDS A HEALTHY AND STRONG FUTURE.

Thousands of girls are trained and equipped to battle the taboo and poor sanitation facilities to accomplish some very essential menstrual hygiene through the Girls Glory Programme, every year. The story wasn’t any different this year. 857 Adolescent girls attended the Menstrual Hygiene Workshop and had a perceptive about puberty, menstruation, menstrual cycle, hygiene management etc. Menstrual Hygiene Management information was shared during video clips on usage and disposal of sanitary napkin through these girls had a sound knowledge on menstrual hygiene practices. Through Workshops it created space for the students to openly discuss their issues and problems faced during their menstruation.

Contemplation and comprehension at FGDs

Focus group discussion was conducted in 3 schools at Jakkur, Thippanahalli and Kannahalli. The purpose of this FGD was to understand and assess the current      knowledge         and awareness about menstruation among adolescent girls. Along with FGDs in-depth interviews were also conducted to understand the personal hygiene practices, taboos and the means of disposing of sanitary pads and menstrual challenges and needs etc. The study was done with the sample size of 25 -30 respondents from higher primary and high schools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                        

 

Some of the findings from the FGDs were: Totally 30% of the girls were not aware of puberty as they have not attained puberty hence they were informed on the same. 60% of the girls were not aware on the bodily changes occurs during the puberty stage. 45% of girls were open to share and without hesitation talked about menstruation. All the girls stated that menstrual cycle and discharge of blood is not good for health. 85% of girls were not aware that iron supplement is highly essential for girls to prevent them from being anemic and they are unaware of the food items fruits and vegetables which are rich in protein. Cent percent girls shared that they often feel uncomfortable during menstrual days as they are unaware about the menstrual hygiene management. 75% of the respondents shared that they have issues of irregularities and stomach pains and they have not approached doctors for the same.

 

Action Through Participation

The WASH committees were formed in GHPS Thipenahalli and GMPS Jakkur. Prior to the formation of the committees, children who were interested in the health leadership were shortlisted and oriented to participate in the campaign/election. After the campaign all the students exercised their franchise and casted their votes in selecting their leaders. Totally 110 actively participated and casted their valuable votes and elected their WASH committee leaders.

Students were educated on importance of adopting good menstrual hygiene practice to enjoy good health in pursuing their education, best practices on hygiene management.

 

Small Steps To a Giant Leap

Girls who are part of the programme, have an understanding on how to calculate their menstrual cycle, which was one of the major drawbacks as most of the girls come unprepared to school during their menstruation days. Menstrual Hygiene Management was explained during the sensitization workshop. Girls are now acquainted on the proper usage and disposal of sanitary napkins.

Case Study

See the anecdote from a girl of GHPS Thippenahalli, Bangalore, to understand the transformation ‘Girls Gory’ is causing:

Reaching Hand sensitized us on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM). Many of us were embarrassed during the session. I had many questions in my mind to clarify but I was hesitant to ask. Later I gained confidence and clarified my doubts. I was advised by my parents that once girls attain puberty, they cannot take part in sport activity to avoid health complications. Hence, I restricted myself in taking part in sports, although I was very much interested. MHM session was an eye opener for me to find answer for all my doubts. Now I am confident of breaking the myth and participate in sports activities whole heartedly says”

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SENSITIZATION PROGRAMS
SENSITIZATION PROGRAMS

Toilet facilities in every school are very essential for the improvement of health and educational development of the children .Realizing this, construction of new toilet units by providing water facilities with special provision in separate toilet blocks for girls  has been going on smoothly.

 

Toilets in schools are necessary for the healthy growth of the children. Some norms were followed both in the selection of toilet designs, location, selection of quality contractors in construction of the toilets units.

To make a school sanitation program sustainable, which is one of the important strategies, maintenance is covered by institutional bodies at school level with assistance from Reaching Hand.

 

SENSITIZATION WORKSHOP

 

The sensitization workshop focused on assessing the awareness on WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) for girls and boys and MHM (Menstrual Hygiene Management) practices for girls by engaging visual aids and participatory activities were conducted.

 

The workshops therefore began with the starting point of helping the beneficiaries in recognizing their current knowledge and practices pertaining to hygiene. Behavior Change is a critical component of improving access to and practices around water, sanitation and hygiene. The provision of services alone is not enough to achieve the outcomes associated with improved WASH. Facilities must also be utilized habitually and properly at key times. The workshops are seen as a vital exchange platform for necessary knowledge sharing.

Through workshops, participants gained a clear understanding of the best practices in changing their behavior of WASH and MHM practices.

Special Day Celebration

 

Global Handwashing Day 15th October 2019,- a global advocacy day dedicated in increasing awareness on the importance of hand washing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. Education on hygiene in schools helpspromote those practices that would prevent water and sanitation related diseases as well as encourage healthy behaviour in future generations.

 

To increase awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap,14 Master of Social Work students from CMR University conducted and awareness program on 23rd October 2019 in GHPS, Khajisonnenahalli. They also performed a mime on how germs easily gets transmitted that can make people sick ifhands are not washed with soap and clean running water.

 

Through mime, children understood that germs can make people sick owing to unhygienic practices and importance of handwashing especially during key times such as after using washrooms, when preparing food, before eating, after coughing, sneezing, after recreation activity etc.

 

Practical demonstration on handwashing steps was depicted to children and few children actively took part and learnt how to wash their hands properly with soap by following simple steps.

 

The theme of World Toilet Day 2019 -"Toilets for All," which means leaving no one behind as the world strives to achieve universal access to sanitation. Sustainable Development Goal 6 has a target to eliminate open defecation and ensure everyone has access to sustainable sanitation services by 2030, “paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations”.

 

World Toilet Day was celebrated in 2 schools through mime to raise awareness among studentshow tosafely manage sanitation and not to practice open defecation.Students also understood that by practicing open defecation, untreated human waste gets out into the environment and spreads diseases. Audio visual aids were displayed for easy understanding by all age groups of students.

 

CASE STUDY

I was trying to understand things myself and then Reaching Hand explained everything to us in detail. I feel like now I know everything; The workshop was very informative, and I was very active and keen in learning new things about menstruation and puberty.
Through sensitization workshop I learnt the importance of personal hygiene especially during menstrual days. I gained knowledge on practicing Menstrual Hygiene Management.
I thank the sponsors for constructing new toilet units in our premises for girls and we are so grateful to them.
Ms.Ramya, 6th Std, GMPS: Doddanekkundi


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Girls are provided with the MHM kit.
Girls are provided with the MHM kit.

Reaching Hand's Girls Glory Program - Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Menstrual Health Management (MHM) is growing from strength to strength each quarter. 

This quarter, we focused on the construction of new toilet units, provided water facilities with a special provision of constructing separate toliet-blocks for girls. Toilets in schools are necessary for the healthy growth of the children. To construct the toilet blocks and to provide sanitation facilities in schools, some norms were followed in the selection of toilet designs, location, selection of quality contractors in construction of the toilets units. 

Reaching Hand has successfully assisted in making the sanitation program in different schools a sustainable one, which is one of the major strategies to have maintainence covered by the insitutinal bodies at the school level. A sensitization workshop was conducted, which focused on assessing the awareness on WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) for girls and boys and MHM (Menstrual Hygiene Management) practices for girls by using engaging visual aids and participatory activities.

The workshops began with the point of helping the beneficiaries recognize their current knowledge and practices pertaining to hygiene. Behavior change is a critical component of improving access to and practices around WASH. The provision of services alone is not enough to achieve the health outcomes associated with WASH. The facilities must also be utilized habitually and properly at key times. These workshops are seen as a vital exchange platform to allow for necessary knowledge sharing.

Menstrupedia Comic book, a comic book designed specificaly for girls aged between 9-14 years, was distributed at the end of the program. Beautiful illustrations and cartoon characters make it really easy and comfortable for students to talk about menstruation, help in breaking their silence and raise awareness for MHM. 

PROGRAM STATISTICS

Menstrual Hygine Management (MHM) Session

1.  No. of Schools - 10
2.  No. of Girls - 1726
3.  No. of Girls benefitted through workshop - 1203
4.  No. of MHM kits distributed - 1023
5.  No. of Menstrupedia Comic books distributed - 1275
6.  No. of incinerator installed - 4

Health & Hygine Session

1.  No. of Schools - 10
2.  No. of Girls/Boys - 2394
3.  No. of Girls benefitted through workshop - 1650
4.  No. of HH kits distributed - 1000
5.  No. of toilets inaugurated - 6

OUR IMPACT

Ms. Meghashri, 6th Std, GHPS: Ganadakatte, Channagiri, Davangere

"There is a lack of knowledge and information about menstruation. Majority of the girls did not know what happened to them when they experienced menstruation for the first time and therefore were scared. Most of my friends come unprepared to school during menstruation days and often stain their school uniform.

Through sensitization workshop I learnt the importance of personal hygiene especially during menstrual days. I gained knowledge on usage of pads and how to manage stomach cramps during menstrual days.

I thank the sponsors for constructing new toilet units and installing pad burning machine in our premises for girls and we are so grateful to them."

All smiles with the Menstrupedia comic book!
All smiles with the Menstrupedia comic book!
New toilet (left) & Incinerator in girls toilet.
New toilet (left) & Incinerator in girls toilet.
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Organization Information

Reaching Hand

Location: Bangalore, Karnataka - India
Website:
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Project Leader:
Akshay Sagar
Chief Operating Officer
Bangalore, Karnataka India
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