Menstrual Hygiene Management in schools of Nepal

by Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness
Menstrual Hygiene Management in schools of Nepal
Menstrual Hygiene Management in schools of Nepal
Menstrual Hygiene Management in schools of Nepal
Menstrual Hygiene Management in schools of Nepal
Menstrual Hygiene Management in schools of Nepal
Menstrual Hygiene Management in schools of Nepal
Menstrual Hygiene Management in schools of Nepal
Menstrual Hygiene Management in schools of Nepal

Menstrual hygiene and its management is an issue that has not received adequate attention in Nepal. Though school course books contain the subject matter of reproductive health, teachers generally avoid teaching it clearly and students also feel embarrassed to learn about it. Along with this, lack of girl friendly facilities is a main concern in rural schools.

Realizing this fact, ECCA has been in a voyage to break the silence on this topic through introducing girl friendly toilets in rural schools and providing menstrual hygiene awareness. Shree Janata Lower Secondary School of Jhule VDC, Dolakha was recently supported to construct girl friendly toilet, which features incinerator to burn used sanitary pads as well as proper water facilities to help menstruating female students during school time.

Jhule is one of the rural areas binded by communities that often take menstruation talks as a taboo. For the first time, girl friendly toilets are being introduced by ECCA. Along with sanitary pad distribution, ECCA has also been providing regular orientation programs on menstrual hygiene management and need for openness to talk about related issue.

“Most of the students are shy and it is really hard to talk about menstruation”, says one of the ECCA counselors, who regularly provides orientation on menstruation hygiene management.

“We used to go home if we menstruated during school hours and we used to miss our classes. There were no facilities for menstruating girls until the receiving of ECCA support”, shared one of the students finally during one of the latest discussions. “I think it is really necessary for every school to have facilities like this.”

It is especially important to break the silence on the topic of menstruation, so that millions of young girls don’t see their period as a disability, but a natural, normal part of their lives.

Our attempt to break the silence is gradually creating an impact and we are thankful to all of you for your continuous support.

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Girl friendly toilet during construction

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Incinerator at the back of the toilet

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 Orientation on Menstrual Hygiene Management conducted in December

  (To receive regular update about ECCA activites, please visit our Blog site,  Facebook,  Twitterwebsiteand YouTube Channel.] 

 

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Shree Kalidhunga Higher Secondary School lies in Mirge of Dolakha district. It is one of the many schools in the area receiving aid from ECCA, since past few years. Sabina Tamang, aged 15, is a student of class 9 in the school. She also happens to be an active member of the Children’s Nature Club at her school. Her house is situated at 800 meters radius away from the school. Her younger sister, Sabita and she commute to school daily on foot.

According to Sabina, her school lacked any kind of separate toilet for girls, a year ago. This used to cause a lot of uncomfortable situations for girls her age in the school. “I used to skip school during the time of my menstruation. It is difficult to change sanitary napkins, when you have to share a common toilet with the boys” is what Sabina had to say. She shared with us incidences of when boys did not understand the issue and teased the girls and just how uneasy that used to make the girls feel. “There were many other girls who used to skip school during that time of the month, just to escape the embarrassment of having to use a common toilet or get teased by one of the boys,” said Sabina.

Having to skip classes and missing out on academic progress was not for the likes of an A-grade student like Sabina, who is a staunch believer of going home and revising everything that has been taught in the class. “I did not like missing out on my classes but, I had no other choice, at that time,” recalls Sabina.

After receiving help from ECCA, the school now has two girl friendly toilets, for the ‘School Environment Improvement Program' conducted by ECCA in the vicinity.

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Girl friendly toilet with incinerator at the back

“I feel very relieved now that we have these female friendly toilets. I don’t have to skip school during my menstruation days anymore,” said Sabina with a smile across her face.

Menstruation should not result in absences and girls missing out on an education due to completely preventable reasons. Just by constructing girl friendly toilets the positive impact of the project could be witnessed. Due to the efforts of ECCA the female absentee rate has declined, since the construction of the girl friendly toilets, according to the schools records.

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Toilet is well equipped with water facility, Sabina during her school hours

Sabina shared that many of her friends have also stopped missing school and are very glad with the newly constructed toilets. “I am glad my younger sister will not have to face the difficulty I went through, when she hits her puberty. She will not get teased by the boys, now that things have been made more comfortable for us. I would like to thank your organization for educating and supporting us with this,” Sabina smiled with a sigh of relief.

We are indeed very thankful to all of you who have been supporting us in our intiation of helping female students attend schools through constructing girl friendly toilets. 

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Incinerator at the back of the toilet
Incinerator at the back of the toilet

ECCA recently provided support to make girl friendly the newly constructed toilet of Shree Udaya Kharka Secondary School, Chapagaon. 178 female students and also six female teachers are now benefitted by this construction. The toilet is now equipped with pipelines for proper water facilities and an incinerator to properly dispose the used sanitary pads.

“It is the first time that we are staying at school comfortably during our menstruation period”, says 12 years old Devika, a grade 8 student. The hesitation to attend school during menstruation period had adverse effect on their studies that directly contributed to dropout rate increment in the school.

According to the teachers, construction of girl friendly toilet has become very effective and regular attendance of students has now increased. “Attending the menstruation awareness programs has made students more careful about menstruation and menstrual hygiene”, shares Ms. Gyanu, one of the teachers. She adds, “now the problem of sanitary pad disposal has been solved since there is incinerator (attached to the toilet) to burn them.”  Previously, girls had only one option; to haphazardly throw the used pads in the toilet and that obviously brought more problems. Admitting to the problematic situation, 13 years old  Srijana, one of the students says, “because of the water facility, the toilet has also become very helpful in maintaining our personal hygiene.”

The support has provided motivation for female students to attend the school regularly. Hundreds of girl students are now motivated to go to school with the construction of girl friendly toilet in schools. We are indeed very thankful for your donations that are helping to make this possible.

Devika and Srijana as they share toilet benefits
Devika and Srijana as they share toilet benefits
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On the occasion of Menstrual Hygiene Day (May 28, 2016), ECCA conducted series of programs related with awareness and encouragement for girls to speak out about menstruation issues. It has also been decided to construct an incinerator (to burn the used sanitary napkins) in the toilet in Shree Kali Devi Higher Secondary School, Malta.

This school lies in remote part of Lalitpur and offers education to 350 students. “Due to absence of proper toilet facility, we do feel that our students suffer a lot”, said Mr. Govinda (nature club supervisor and teacher of the school), during interaction program on Menstrual Hygiene Day. “Girl students are shy to speak about their menstrual problems and it is difficult for us especially male teachers to do anything about it.”

“However, involving students in menstruation related programs have helped them to open up slowly”, he adds and the addition of incinerator in the toilet along with proper water facilities is also expected to bring a positive change in the attitude of rural students and teachers towards menstruation.  

aMenstrual hygiene program at ECCA for schools from southern Lalitpur

m.jpgDiscussion among parents, teachers, students and ECCA officials on the need of Girl Friendly Toilet

In fact, menstrual hygiene management and need of girl friendly toilets sessions has always been a key issue during every WASH program of ECCA.  

ECCA will continue to help schools understand and make arrangements so that girls in rural areas need not skip school during menstruation or drop out from the school. 

We sincerely thank all our supporters who have helped us in this cause. 

[For more updates regarding our programs and activities, please visit our Blog site,  Facebook,  Twitterwebsite, and YouTube Channel.] 

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Girls toilet in Shree Bagh Bhairab Higher Secondary School in Chaughare, Lalitpur has been renovated with facilities to make female students comfortable during school hours.

The school lies in one of the most remote areas of Lalitpur district and the problem of latrine facilities was existing since some years. Especially during their time of menstruation, girls seek properly water-facilitated toilets and a place for proper disposal of used pads; in the absence of which, many choose to remain absent from the school.

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"Here, people are very shy to talk about menstruation. It is the reason why girl students tend to avoid school during such period" says a teacher

The recent construction has, however, become a solution for this problematic situation. Unmanaged drainage system of the toilets including the disposal area are now replaced with newly constructed pipe system from toilets to the septic tank and also offers a secure place for disposal of used pads (basically, an incinerator to burn the used sanitary pads).

“This action has benefitted over 90 girl students studying in the school and female teachers as well. We are glad we approached you for help”, said the principal of the school to ECCA.

Along with this, responsibilities for regular monitoring of water facility and cleanliness of the toilets has been taken by the school’s nature club. “As conscious and active bunch of the school, we have taken this initiative to maintain the school’s sanitation level. Here, we do our duties turn by turn”, shared one of the club members.

This has generated a sense of responsibility among young students. But construction of girl friendly toilet has most importantly encouraged girl students to attend school regularly and this, in itself, is a huge achievement.

ECCA thanks all its supporters for the help provided.

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Back side of toilet (right) before the construction

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After the construction of the incinerator chamber

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Incinerator; view from the inside

(For regular updates regarding our programs and activities, please visit our blog site, Facebook, website, Twitter and YouTube Channel.)

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Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness

Location: Lalitpur, Bagmati - Nepal
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Project Leader:
Prachet Kumar Shrestha
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Lalitpur, Bagmati Nepal
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