A growing body of evidence has demonstrated the many challenges menstruating girls face in school environments. These include a lack of adequate, clean, safe, private toilets with water and disposal mechanisms for used menstrual materials, a lack of information, guidance and support on their changing bodies and new menstrual management needs, and insufficient materials for managing monthly menstrual flow. Increasing interest has led to a large range of actors engaging on the issue of menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in schools around the world, suggesting the need to identify a common vision and set of priorities to transform the school environment for menstruating girls and female teachers.
In 2014, UNICEF and Columbia University organized the MHM in Ten meeting, with the objective of mapping out a ten-year agenda for MHM in schools. The meeting brought together a wide range of actors, including academics, donors, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), United Nations agencies and the private sector – and from a variety of policy areas, including water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education, gender, sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and adolescent development. The participants identified five priorities to help dramatically improve MHM by 2024.
All photography provided by Unicef