Menstrual Hygiene Management

January 2, 2012

Over the past decade  the importance of Menstrual Hygiene Management to global development has been recognized.  If females are confined to their homes during their periods, girls will drop out of school, position of women won’t improve and equitable, sustainable development becomes an impossibility.

Writing in the New Statesman (and The New York Times), Rose George shows that taboos about menstruation may be greater than those surrounding defecation.   When it’s not talked about there is ignorance and girls may think they are dying when they bleed for the first time.

In this TEDxRanier presentationPATH staffer Nancy Muller presents the technical challenges of developing sanitary products at very low cost.  This need has stimulated a variety of social enterprises, such as AFRIpads.

Learn More

WASH in Schools Empowers Girls’ Education.  Proceedings of the Menstrual Hygiene Management in Schools Virtual Conference  organized by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and Unicef in 2012. 38-page illustrated work makes recommendations for action on the basis of 13 country case studies.

Menstrual hygiene matters is a comprehensive training program developed by WaterAid.  Nine modules and toolkits cover key aspects of menstrual hygiene in different settings, including communities, schools and emergencies. The program brings together examples of good menstrual hygiene practice from around the world; provides guidance on building competence and confidence to break the silence surrounding the issue; and encourages increased engagement in advocacy on menstrual hygiene.  Materials are downloadable free.

Celebrating Womanhood: How better menstrual hygiene management is the path to better health, dignity and business.  Rose George’s 2013 account of the  was written for the Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC).  Writes George of the taboos surrounding MHM “Most girls and women in developing countries have no access to cheap, hygienic sanitary materials. They use cloths, old saris, scraps of anything, cotton-wool. Because they are ashamed, they dry them in secret and therefore unhygienically – drying cloth under a bed does not ensure the removal of bacteria, unlike drying cloth in sunlight. Because of the pervasive shame and taboo and stigma, 73% of girls and women who attended the MHM Lab in six Indian states told researchers they had had no idea what to expect when they started bleeding. No-one, not even their mothers, had told them what to expect. Many thought they were injured, some thought they were dying.”

Teaching Ecological Sanitation and Menstruation Management in Schools. This kit of manuals, presentations and fact sheets by Peter Morgan and Annie Kanyemba includes the booknine factsheets and 35 presentations on ecosan in schools, and A Guide to Menstrual Management for School Girls.

Recent studies on Menstrual Management for school girls in Zimbabwe.  Annie Kanyemba of Aquamor covers progress and lessons learned in 4-min video.

Danish company gets Sida grant to sell menstrual cups in Kenya.  The cost of sanitary napkins  and tampons is two fold.  First, African school girls can’t afford them.  Second, they create one more waste product that needs to be composted or disposed of.  The answer is a reusable cup.

An Indian Inventor Disrupts The Period Industry  When Arunachalam Muruganantham decided he was going to do something about the fact that women in India can’t afford sanitary napkins, he went the extra mile: He wore his own for a week to figure out the best design.


Our Mission Through education and advocacy, PHLUSH helps local governments and citizen groups to provide equitable public restroom availability and to prepare for a pipe-breaking seismic event with appropriate ecological toilet systems.

Our Vision Toilet availability is a human right and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters and our soils.

Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH) was founded in Portland, Oregon and today collaborates with groups across North America.

PHLUSH is a member of the World Toilet Organization and a partner in the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance.

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