Community-based menstrual hygiene management education and training workshops
Kalyani received a $5000 seed grant from Women Deliver’s Young Leader’s program in 2016 to run community-based menstrual hygiene management education and training workshops in Sakot village development committee (VDC). We worked together with KIRDARC Nepal which is a local NGO that has been working in Surkhet since 1999 in areas such as health, livelihood and education for district level collaboration and networking.
Before beginning the project, we conducted a situation analysis survey in Salkot, among 343 residents of the village through systematic proportionate sampling method. The survey found that knowledge and awareness on menstruation was very low with only 27.6% aware of menstruation as a normal physiological process. An alarming number of respondents (79.8%) practiced the tradition of Chhuapadi. Chhaupadi is a tradition widely practiced in the mid and far western regions of Nepal where women and girls are made to live in outdoor sheds during their periods considering them impure and untouchable.
Awareness sessions were conducted for various target groups which included school going adolescents, adolescent groups, youth committees, women’s/mothers’ groups, female community health volunteers, community leaders, and other general community members. Till the end of September, a total of 73 such orientation events were carried out. Following table shows target specific number of events held.
|Number of events among mothers/ women group||14|
|Number of events among adolescents and youth groups||4|
|Number of events among School Adolescents groups||22|
|Number of events among community leaders including health service providers||3|
|Number of events among community members||30|
Follow up reorientation sessions were conducted in each of the groups. The total direct beneficiaries of this project was 1680 people.
We also provided hands on training to women and girls in the community to make their own reusable sanitary pads with locally available and inexpensive materials. We conducted 22 separate events and 311 women and girls were trained.
|Number of events among mothers/ women group||6|
|Number of events among adolescents and youth groups||9|
|Number of events among School Adolescents groups||7|
Advocacy efforts have been made from the grass root level to the top level. Informal and formal meetings have been held with local bodies such as the Village Development Committee Secretary and Female Community Health Volunteers. In the district level, Kalyani is working closely with the District Health Office. Informal meetings have been held with the Vice Chairman of the National Planning Commission of Nepal and the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee.
The biggest challenge in working in raising awareness on menstrual hygiene was the deeply rooted cultural taboos believed by the community and the extreme menstrual hygiene practices followed there.