Research on the effects of menstrual hygiene interventions on school attendance

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  • Steff
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Research on the effects of menstrual hygiene interventions on school attendance

Dear all,

my name is Steffi Rönitzsch and I am enrolled in the Master’s program ’International Development Studies’ at the University of Marburg, Germany.
I intend to write my Master’s thesis about Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) and in this respect I contact you.

Literature review has so far shown that there is a need for a better understanding of the effects of improved MHM. It seems that there is a gap in the evidence if interventions on MH (hardware as well as software) indeed have an effect on girls' school attendance.

In order to contribute to the scientific debate about this topic and to help facilitate practical work, my Master’s thesis aims at answering the questions, whether MH interventions in fact lead to a higher school attendance among adolescent girls and, if so, what are the factors of their success.

Therefore I would very much like to learn from your practical knowledge. I am currently looking for organisations/institutions that carried out projects aiming at the improvement of Menstrual Hygiene (especially in schools) and can share their experiences. Thus I search for project reports, working papers or any other kind of documented information. Especially interesting are those projects that have well documented information on the conducted measures and on school attendance rates of adolescents before and after the measures.
Please don’t hesitate to also share experiences that might have not had the desired effects, as they can be seen as a ’lesson learned’ for all of us. I am also planning to conduct interviews with the persons in charge of ‘selected’ projects in order to get the full picture of a project.

I am very thankful for your support und will of course share key findings later on.
You can either contact me via Email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or post your ideas here in the forum.

I am looking forward to hearing from you

Yours Sincerely
Steffi Rönitzsch

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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Research of the effects of menstrual hygiene interventions on school attendance

Did you already see these conference proceedings ? Should give you a good starting point for activities in East Africa.

Also have a look at some of the documents I shared on UWASNETs working-group page.
Microbiologist & emergency WASH specialist
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  • Steff
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Re: Research of the effects of menstrual hygiene interventions on school attendance

Dear Krischan,
thank you very much for your support and sharing the documents! It’s great to see how much is actually happening on MHM!

Still it seems challenging to generate but also find quantitative data about the effects of improved MHM on school attendance & performance of girls. (tried GoogleScholar, JSTOR, ResearchGate, SuSana library etc.)

So once again, if anybody has anything to share I would be more than happy to have a look on it. Quantitative as well as qualitative data, project reports or simply ideas you have in your mind are more than welcome!

To those of you who are also interested in the field I have some recommendations of literature I so far found and used for my investigations. Please find the major scientific generated ones attached. Additionally the “Final report on the impact of feminine hygiene on girls participation in education in Kenya “ from FAWE (Forum for African Women Educationalists) is very advisable.

Best regards
Steffi

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  • thilde
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Re: Research of the effects of menstrual hygiene interventions on school attendance

Dear Steffi,
From searching in PubMed, I have located more than 50 publications on menstrual hygiene - quantitative as well as quantitative. School attendance/absentiism is actually among the most well investigated factors, since it is fairly easy to correlate with a pad/menstrual cup intervention.

The auhors of Sumpter (the most comprehensive review to date - attached), McMahon, Kirk, Summer,Burrows, and Santina are key authors of the field but many others have published single papers with experiences.

Interventions taking place in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Ethiopia and Tanzania have brought many new findings to the table.

I would be very interested in reading your report once finished - All the best with seaching more.
Thilde
Thilde Rheinländer,
Researcher with interests in socio-cultural factors in WASH

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  • Steff
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Re: Research of the effects of menstrual hygiene interventions on school attendance

Dear Thilde,

thank you very much for your recommondations.

I agree on the point that the interlinkage between menstruation and school attendance is quiet well investigate, but this is unfortunatly not exactly what I was looking for. Sorry if my explainations where not clear enough.
I was looking for studies which show a causal connections between MHM interventions and higher school attendance. In other words: Do "MHM interventions in fact lead to a higher school attendance among adolescent girls and, if so, what are the factors of their success"? This aims at the investigation of projects that already conducted interventions and assessed an impact.

Sumpter et. al actually underlines the need for research in this field by saying:
"There is a gap in the evidence for high quality randomised intervention studies which combine hardware and software interventions, in particular for better understanding the nuanced effect improving MHM may have on girls’ attendance at school.

Furthermore the only study withhin his comprehensive review that clearly considered "school attendance" as the outcome, asserts that "menstruation has a very small impact on school attendance" and rejects "that the claim that better menstruation products close the attendance gap". (Oster, 2010)

I hope the idea I follow became a bit clearer and the discussion continues!
steffi
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  • BrigitteRasmus
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Re: Research of the effects of menstrual hygiene interventions on school attendance

There was research done in 2010 by Linda Scott of the University of Oxford in Ghana on the effect of provision of menstrual pads to high school students and school attendance under the titel "Sanitary protection cuts absenteeism in African schools", which showed that girls significantly missed school less.
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  • Steff
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Re: Finished Master Thesis in MHM - Research of the effects of menstrual hygiene interventions on school attendance -

Dear all,

sharing is caring! Attached you can find my finished Master Thesis.
Deppest gratitude to everyone who supported this work.
The document is also assessible at the SuSana library here .

If you have any questions or remarks please do not hesitate to contact me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


Title:

Dropping out of school because of Menstruation?
An analysis of factors of success for Menstrual Hygiene Management-projects in low and lower-middle income countries

Abstract:

Background and aims: Former research reveals that many girls in developing countries are challenged by the management of menstruation in their educational settings. Absenteeism dur-ing menstruation is a consequential occurrence that can potentially lead girls to drop out of school completely. Over the past decade, these findings have led to increased interest in Men-strual Hygiene Management by developmental organisations. The aim of this thesis is to ana-lyse whether the interventions such organisations conduct in order to improve these situations indeed lead to improvements in school attendance and, if so, to identify factors of success.
Methodology: The socio-ecological framework for Menstrual Hygiene Management is used as a theoretical foundation for the topic. A qualitative approach, based on a comparison of four case studies together with results from seven expert interviews, is used to gather information.
Results: The case studies show that the interventions ‘education’, ‘provision of sanitary items’, and the combination of both, have a positive impact on the reduction of menstruation-related school absenteeism but cannot completely prevent it. Analysis of the studies as well as the interviews suggests that, in addition to the promotion of sanitary items and sanitary infra-structure, the provision of menstruation-related education to girls and their communities is a key factor of success to keeping girls in school.
Conclusion: Menstrual Hygiene Management projects should include a holistic educational programme that is adapted to cultural contexts that focuses on teaching not only girls, but also their families, schools and communities. Furthermore, the promotion of access to sanitary items and adequate sanitary infrastructure is advised and a programme to support this should involve local stakeholders to ensure its long-term utilisation.

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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Finished Master Thesis in MHM - Research of the effects of menstrual hygiene interventions on school attendance -

Dear Steffi,

Congratulations on completing your Master Thesis on MHM! And I am so pleased that you took the approach of "sharing is caring" and have shared your final result, after we were able to follow some of your research progress here on the forum. Perfect!

I was just wondering about the title of your thesis:
"Dropping out of school because of Menstruation?"
Isn't it more about absenteeism (when the girls have their menstruation days each month), rather than dropping out completely? Dropping out completely might be more related to them being married off young, once they have their menstruation and are regarded as "adults" by some?

I saw your in your summary that you mentioned the girls' fear/hesitation to stand up in class to answer a question during their menstruation days (in case there is a stain on their skirt). I really feel for those girls. :-( In Germany, the practice of having to stand up when you say something in class has been abandoned - unless it's about doing something at the blackboard or in front of the class; but not for a "normal" answer. This would help these girls...

Are you able to use your thesis work in your job that you are now pursuing after your degree?

And if you have some time in between jobs, how about weaving some of your knowledge into the relevant Wikipedia articles on menstruation topics? See here a related post I made a few days ago in the direction of WASH United:
forum.susana.org/forum/categories/24-men...day-newsletter#12798

Good luck with your next career moves!

Regards,
Elisabeth
Head moderator of this discussion forum
(Funded via consultancy contract with Skat Foundation funded by WSSCC)

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Brisbane, Australia
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Sanitation Wikipedia project leader: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
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  • dannyogwo
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Re: Finished Master Thesis in MHM - Research of the effects of menstrual hygiene interventions on school attendance -

Dear Sheriff,
Am sorry for not sharing my experience as I was still testing the strategy that have been used in Ethiopia and properly there was no indicator for its measurement.
Training of school girls and community women in local sanitary pads production as a strategy of promoting and improving sustainable menstrual hygiene management.
While sewing this materials (sanitary pads), a rapport for open discussion between mother and girls child is initiated to improve the girls knowledge of reproductive health and menstruation.
peer educators trainer strategy: this give the school girls the opportunity to openly discuss menstruation with their peer while sewing and distributing the sanitary pads.

Daniel
Daniel Ifegwu Iroegbu
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