ICA Nepal marks International Menstrual Hygiene Day 2017

May has been a wonderful month for ICA Nepal, allowing us to bring our vision of working on Menstrual Hygiene among local women into action. Marking the International Menstrual Hygiene Day 2017, ICA Nepal conducted two programs for Menstrual Hygiene among women’s groups, one in the Koteshwor area and one in Changunaayan, on the 25th and 30th of May respectively.

The program on the 25th of May was given to the local women of the Koteshwor area, who were mostly social mobilizers, development workers and representatives of local organizations. The program was facilitated by Mr. Upendra Raj Dhakal, who has been involved in the WASH sector for a long time. The program delivered an in-depth explanation of Menstruation covering its biological process, stages, about PMS and Menopause, and it focused deeply on the hygienic perspectives. The program was intended mainly to provide information to local women on different hygiene practices, sanitary materials and ways to properly use and dispose of them.

Considering the stigma surrounding menstruation in Nepal, the program also highlighted the different challenges women face during menstruation. The taboos that consider women impure and untouchable, has led to many health risks among women, as they never openly talk about it, consider it shameful and hide themselves, making them prone to several health problems.

On the 30th May, a similar program was organized at Changunarayan on Menstrual Hygiene Management, where local women and members of a women’s group in Changunarayan participated. The program, facilitated by Ms. Pritha Khanal, also focused on maintaining good hygiene and promoting MH Day in the rural community. Since the situation regarding Menstrual hygiene is even worse and the taboos even more strict in this community, it was essential to make them aware.

Both programs focused on the role women should play to remove the stigma and promote menstrual health. As all the participants attending were independent, empowered and responsible citizens, it is essential that they promote MHM on a personal and community level. They can play a big role in bringing a behavioural change if they promote clean hygienic menstrual practice within their families and surroundings. On a broader level, they can convince the institutions they are working for to have more menstruation friendly facilities, like proper toilets, WASH materials and to educate children in the matter. In that regard, ICA Nepal has started a blog dedicated to periods and removing period stigmas – www.letstalkperiodsblog.wordpress.com is our site where you can find recent updates on Menstruation issues, the involvement of ICA Nepal, and stories related to menstrual experience. Do please check the blog and help us reach a larger audience. Also, please help us expand to our MHM programs at Global Giving.

This post was written for ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, June 2017.