Long Read

Menstrual Hygiene Day in India, Indonesia and Bangladesh

Yesterday we celebrated Menstrual Hygiene Day! The day on which a growing number of people and organisations worldwide celebrate menstruation. Why? Because menstruation is still stigmatised in most cultures around the world. And, now during COVID-19 times, due to lockdowns and social distancing, it becomes even more challenging for women and girls to stay healthy and well during their menstruation. Therefore, instead of organising group events, together with local partners, we came up with other ways to still raise awareness and inform women and girls on menstrual health.

India

Programme: More than Brides Alliance

Menstrual Hygiene Day was celebrated in India as well! The theme of the day was ‘It’s time for action’. This theme highlights the urgency for the collective work needed to empowering women and girls and change the negative social norms around menstruation.

Our local partners in India, BVHA, CINI, NEEDS and VHAI, came up with different initiatives to raise awareness for menstrual health, such as:
– organising a wide range of activities for girls, i.e. painting menstruation bracelets, drawing, slogan and poem writing competitions, yoga sessions with postures to relieve discomfort during menstruation, and much more!
– creating video’s on how to make reusable pads at home and sharing these with girls.
– providing reusable menstrual pads to a large number of girls.
– conducting surveys among girls to understand the impact of COVID-19 on menstrual health.
– publishing news articles on the theme: ‘Periods are not in lockdown’.

Also, they distributed posters about ‘7 things men must know about menstruation’ and how they should support girls and women at home. They supported girls to write a letter to the Chief Minister, urging him to address the crisis related to the supply of sanitary pads, and organised a webinar for girls, titled “Menstrual Hygiene – Unlocking the Opportunities”.

Bangladesh

Programme: Our Health, Our Lives, Our Futures

In Bangladesh, together with our partner BNPS and 10 local organisations, with funding from the EU, we support, not only on Menstrual Hygiene Day but continuously, young women to manage their menstruation with dignity. We contribute to the empowerment of women and girls to realise their sexual and reproductive health and rights without violence, coercion or discrimination.

For Menstrual Hygiene Day we raised awareness on menstrual health using online media, such as educative videos* and video calls. The local trainers of BNPS in the programme have written insightful articles about the situation in Bangladesh in relation to menstrual health. Also, all partners and locals made their own Menstrual Hygiene Day bracelet.

*Watch the video of Our Lives, Our Health, Our Futures here.

Indonesia

Programmes: SEHATI & The Perfect Fit

In Indonesia, Simavi is working together with a working group (Jejaring AMPL) consisting of international and local NGOs, as well as representatives of relevant ministries. As we have been actively promoting menstrual health in Indonesia since 2018, we developed a menstrual health book in Bahasa Indonesia in order to raise awareness and advocate menstrual health to the community and government.

In addition, we initiated:
– an online writing, photography and videography competition for youth. You can find all photos and videos that have been submitted for the competition through Instagram hashtag #mkm2020.
– a survey, in collaboration with UNICEF, to research if women an girls face challenges maintaining their menstruation during the lockdown.
– a testimonial video (we called it TEDTalk) to mainstream menstrual health at grass-root level.
– live streams on Zoom, Instagram and Facebook in collaboration with national influencers and local NGOs.
– an online discussion with national and local governments, as well as private companies, to initiate a collaboration for MH in Indonesia.

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Do you want to know more about Menstrual Health?

Please contact our colleague Hilda Alberda.

hilda.alberda@simavi.nl
+31 (0)88 313 15 74