Making Periods Normal

On average a woman spends ten years of her life menstruating. Most women experience pain, discomfort and lack energy during their periods. In India, girls and women experience extra constraints during menstruation.

Due to cultural beliefs surrounding sexual reproductive health and blood, they face limitations in managing their menstruation as well as their participation in daily live. A lack of knowledge of how to maintain proper hygiene – even at home – often leads to infections. Since women in India often don’t have access to affordable, good quality sanitary napkins or proper WASH facilities, it is almost impossible to manage their menstruation in a healthy way. This has a significant impact on their personal development, economic status and health.

continue to objectives

Overall objective

 Improve the health and wellbeing of 660,000 women and girls in the intervention areas in India.

 Specific objectives

  1. Improve awareness and knowledge of the importance of hygiene management;
  2. Improve access to sanitary napkins.


continue to approach

Making Periods Normal is implemented by Simavi, Rutgers and Women on Wings.

Drawing on extensive experience, the consortium works together with local partners to provide information and share knowledge of menstrual hygiene management and prevention of infections. While access to affordable sanitary pads is created by setting up a local distribution model. Local women are trained as entrepreneurs to distribute these sanitary napkins.

Integrated approach

The programme uses this integrated approach to enable girls and women to fully participate in private and public life during menstruation. In addition, the consortium seeks to raise awareness among Dutch women about the psychological, social and medical impact of poor menstrual hygiene management for women and girls in India.

Simavi’s activities

Together with two local partners, Simavi trains local health workers on menstrual hygiene. Female role models from the local communities are involved. By raising awareness and training these influential women in the villages, communities change their view on menstruation and increase demand for menstrual hygiene management. Simavi’s activities include (but are not limited to):


  • Training women’s self-help groups on menstrual hygiene management;
  • Educating men on menstrual hygiene management;
  • Implementing awareness raising activities within communities, such as plays and wall paintings;
  • Building the capacity of health workers to work on menstrual hygiene management;
  • Advocacy on menstrual hygiene management related issues, such as proper WASH facilities in schools.


With this approach, the Making Periods Normal programme seeks to banish the cultural beliefs surrounding menstrual hygiene whilst providing girls and women with knowledge and access to the services they need to improve their health. Together, these strategies will help both men and women view menstruation as a natural change in a woman’s body. To ensure sustainable change, every service and activity is implemented according to our FIETS principles.

continue to result

2016 was the last year of full implementation, we will start evaluating the programme (both qualitatively and quantitatively) in 2017. We want to pilot the Most Significant Change methodology as the qualitative evaluation approach.  The Most Significant Change (MSC) technique is a form of participatory monitoring and evaluation. It involves different programme stakeholders to define, select and analyse together the changes brought by the programme. The search for new funding to continue implementation has started.

# people reached through mass media (target full programme: 266, 359, realisation 2016: 197,650)
# persons trained to build awareness (target full programme: 9,698, realisation 2016: 7,229)
# apporached to promote SRHR service improvement (target full programme: 2, realisation 2016: 2)

You can find a complete programme results overview of 2016 here.

Situation Approach Result

Programme information

  • Simavi Budget

    € 1,050,200 (incl. communication)

  • Overal Budget

    € 2 million

  • 3 years

  • Location

    India: Munger and Bhagalpur (state of Bihar).

  • Target groups

    1) Girls and women aged (12-49 years old); 2) Men and boys in local communities.

  • Alliance partners

    Rutgers and Women on Wings.

  • Implementing partners

    Bihar Voluntary Health Association (BVHA) and Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA).

  • Donors

    Nationale Postcode Loterij

  • Role of Simavi

    Implementing partner.

3 Questions

Hilda Alberda is Simavi’s Director Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning and an expert on Menstrual Health. In 2016, she was invited by Léo Heller, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation, to take part in an expert consultation on ‘Gender equality in the realisation of the human rights to water and sanitation’. Together with a group of experts, Hilda discussed topics such as menstruation, specific challenges that women face in accessing WASH, and how to combat gender-based violence related to water and sanitation – in short, a lot of issues close to Simavi’s heart.

Do you want to know more about Making Periods Normal?

Please contact our colleague Hilda Alberda.
+31 (0)88 313 15 74

Further reading

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