Quazi Robiul Alam
In Bangladesh, menstruation is still a secret matter shrouded by misconceptions and taboos.
As a result, we often encountered resistance when approaching schools and communities to engage in the programme. We were able to overcome that by using fact-based messages and interactive methods for delivering sessions and training. Our close collaboration with the local department of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education was also instrumental in the successful delivery of the programme.
The randomised controlled trail also provided us with some challenges. For it to be successful, we had to follow strict protocols where normally we have a lot more freedom to decide how and where we work.
Collecting data from control schools was also a challenge, as they did not directly benefit from the programme. Because we had piles of data in our offices, we used to call Ritu the 'research programme'.
We have learned a lot from this programme though and the evaluation shows that it made a positive impact on girls menstrual health. That is the most important.