Addressing infrastructural barriers to MHM in schools to support inclusive and quality learning for all

  • Mbaja
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Re: Addressing infrastructural barriers to MHM in schools to support inclusive and quality learning for all

Who actually cleans the sanitation facilities in schools? students?

I remember in my primary school we had some latrines constructed by the Min of Education, the first week we all enjoyed using them but then, with time we could no longer use them because they were disgustingly dirty. Most schools would not afford to hire someone to clean them so it will be up to the school to have a duty roster and the pupils/students would clean the toilets. This was so badly done that in the end we just stopped using the school toilets. Many girls will opt to stay at home during menstruation rather than going to school.
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  • dannyogwo
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Re: Addressing infrastructural barriers to MHM in schools to support inclusive and quality learning for all

Great to share from Nigeria perspective, You mostly see girls and women underwear spread in the bathroom or toilet as the case may be, while some still spread within the courtyard. From the women perspective, it is uncultured for a girl underwear to be public seen by every one. This is a life long culture and perception.But I see those perceptions gradually fading among the educated girl, women population.

Daniel Iroegbu
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  • muhoza221
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Re: Taking Note of Pad Management in Schools

Dear Therese,

I think incineration is not a good option for sanitary pads disposal unless incinerators fulfills Incinerator Flue Gas Emission Standards.

I would rather urge research in biodegradable menstrual pads.

regards

MUHOZA J. Pierre
University of Science and Technology Beijing
Masters student in Environmental Engineering
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  • Bellamonse
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Re: Addressing infrastructural barriers to MHM in schools to support inclusive and quality learning for all

This is a very interesting discussion. Most of the aforementioned infrastructural barriers to MHM in schools are strongly related to shame, existing taboos and silence around the topic. It is very encouraging to see the MHM movement around the globe and the vivid exchange of experience. The movement is impacting on policies and guidelines in the education, health and WASH Sector and implementation is starting in many countries. However, even the internet is accelerating this movement, changes will not happen over night, this is specifically true for taboos and cultural believes. As Muhammadwaseen mentioned in his post from Pakistan, touching the MHM taboo is very difficult because awareness raising and discussion about MHM is not wanted or appreciated by many parents (and teachers) in rural Pakistan. This is true for many countries around the globe.

It might be best start addressing infrastructural barriers which are not controversial and can be addressed in the school context: cleanliness, access to privacy, water, soap and trash bins.
Next steps from there should be access to information on MHM, which is best provided by the Ministry of Education which has the mandate and the opportunity to take the topic forward in a cultural sensitive way and reach the youth. The distribution of cultural appropriate brochures or booklets supports girls and boys to understand their puberty and the same booklets will help teachers (and parents) to gain knowledge and find words and a language to communicate about MHM.
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  • Mbaja
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Re: Addressing infrastructural barriers to MHM in schools to support inclusive and quality learning for all

Bella, I couldn't agree with you more, the on-going movement in MHM will definitely yield fruits in the next few years. I think FGM movements and discussions just started like this, though the fight against FGM has not been full worn but we have come along way and many our cultures are working through letting go the practice.

Infrastructural barrier is the priority at the moment, the more girls and women are be able to manage their menses in a dignified manner the more they will feel comfortable to discuss such a subject that is so much associated with shame and embarrassment.
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  • muench
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Re: Addressing infrastructural barriers to MHM in schools to support inclusive and quality learning for all

Dear Mbaja,

Interesting that you mention the similarities with the taboos around FGM (female genital mutilation). Could you expand a bit what you meant when you said:

I think FGM movements and discussions just started like this,


I see some similarities in the two "issues" and have written about it here in a previous thread:
forum.susana.org/component/kunena/257-fe...-links-to-sanitation
(in case you hadn't seen the sub-category on FGM yet, it is here: forum.susana.org/component/kunena/257-female-genital-mutilation )

Regards,
Elisabeth

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  • Mbaja
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Re: Addressing infrastructural barriers to MHM in schools to support inclusive and quality learning for all

Dear Elisabeth,

Thank you for the information on the discussion on link between MHM and FGM, I hadn't seen that thread before.
What I meant by the similarities in the taboos is that; most cultures would see FGM as a rite of passage and not a mutilation in any case. When FGM campaign was first introduced in Mt. Elgon a (community near my village) everyone was so annoyed by the western definition of such an important rite of passage as 'mutilation'. The reality is; communities viewed FGM as nothing harmful but a very important practice and women would champion for it, I even had friends who were really looking forward to the ‘cut’ because it will symbolized that they have grown into womanhood. The rest of us whose culture did not practice such we are considered as kids and not mature women.
However, with time and years of campaigns, sensitizations and information about the impact of such rites of passage on women has enabled the communities see it as what it is and the cases of FGM are dropping and even women were initiators of the cut are now champions for anti FGM. That’s how I feel about MHM too, for years our communities’ related menstruation with being impure, a time for seclusion and cleansing and purification thereafter, there are so may superstitions linked with this. I am so positive that with efforts on sensitization of communities on such superstitions and how it impacts on the health and lives of women there will be a break through and women can have and manage their menstruation with dignity.
I think the most important thing is to have tailor made approaches for different communities because the practices are very different and we also have to be very sensitive on how we define issues in the communities. To be honest, when I go back to my community and even when I end up in conversation discussing FGM I would be very careful not to refer to it as FGM because community do not see it as a mutilation but just an ‘important cut’. So I would rather talk to them about ‘the cut' and how it affects lives and health’s of women. Immediately you mention to my community that FGM is harmful to women, they just switch off and are looking to you as a very 'westernized' member of the community who has no respect and do not value the culture. I think by looking at issues from the community point of view and understanding the angle of the issue will be very beneficial in efforts to eradicate such taboos and practices.
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  • Mintje
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Re: Addressing infrastructural barriers to MHM in schools to support inclusive and quality learning for all

Dear all,

I want to thank everyone, who participated in this enriching discussion!

We will oficially end the discussion now and start to prepare a Synthesis Report, that we will then share with you all.

Please don't hesitate to further continue the discussion nevertheless!


Thanks everyone!

Have a great weekend ahead!

Best regards,
Mintje

Mintje Büürma

SuSanA Thematic Discussion Series Coordinator
Sustainable Sanitation Programme
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
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