WASHplus Weeklies

WASHplus Weekly: The WASHplus Weekly highlights latest research and resources on topics such as Water, Sanitation, Hygiene, Household Air Pollution, Clean Cooking, Innovation, Nutrition, Food Safety, WASH in Schools, WASH Integration, and more.

2016

Issue 224 July 8, 2016 Focus on WASHplus Project Publications
Issue 223 May 25, 2016 Focus on Menstrual Hygiene

Issue 222 April 5 2016 Focus on the State of Handwashing
Issue 221 March 21 2016 Focus on Water Quality, Supply, and Livelihoods

Issue 220 March 4 2016 Focus on WASH and Nutrition
Issue 219 Feb. 19 2016 Focus on Sustainability, Accountability, and Governance
Issue 218 Feb. 5 2016 Focus on Behavior Change and WASH
Issue 217 Jan. 22 2016 Q&A on Investments in Cookstoves with Jörg Peters, RWI
Issue 216 Jan. 8 2016 Q&A with Adam Creighton

2015

Issue 215 Dec. 18 2015 Focus on Water Quality
Issue 215 Dec. 7 2015 Focus on WASH in Schools
Issue 213 Nov. 6 2015 World Pneumonia Day 2015
Issue 212 Oct. 30 2015 Focus on Enabling Environments
Issue 211 Oct. 23 2015 Lessons Learned in Sanitation
Issue 209 Oct. 9 2015 Focus on Global Handwashing Day 2015
Issue 208 Sept. 25 2015 Focus on Water & Agriculture
Issue 207 Sept. 18 2015 Focus on Handwashing Research
Issue 206 Sept. 11 2015 Focus on Cookstoves for Displaced Populations
Issue 205 Sept. 4 2015 Focus on Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue 204 August 28 2015 Focus on WASH & Innovation
Issue 203 August 21 2015 Focus on World Water Week 2015
Issue 202 August 14 2015 Focus on Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)
Issue 201 August 7 2015 Focus on Animal Waste Management
Issue 200 July 31 2015 Focus on Wearables for WASH & Health
Issue 199 July 17 2015 Focus on WASH & Financing
Issue 198 July 10 2015 Focus on Waste Pickers
Issue 197 July 2 2015 Focus on WASH & Nutrition
Issue 196 June 26 2015 Management of Infant and Child Feces
Issue 195 June 19 2015 Role of Women in Clean Cooking
Issue 194 June 5 2015 WASH & HAP & Child Health
Issue 193 May 28 2015 Menstrual Hygiene Management
Issue 191 May 15 2015 Focus on WASH & Pastoralism
Issue 190 May 8 2015 Focus on Hygiene
Issue 189 May 1 2015 Focus on Desalination
Issue 188 April 24 2015 Behavior Change in the Clean Cooking Sector
Issue 187 April 17 2015 WASH and Enabling Environments
Issue 186 April 10 2015 WASH in Non-Household Settings, including Schools
Issue 185 April 3 2015 Focus on World Health Day 2015 – Food Safety
Issue 184 March 27 2015 Focus on Water Safety Plans (WSP)
Issue 183 March 20 2015 Focus on Microfinance
Issue 182 March 13 2015 Focus on Urban Wastewater
Issue 181 March 6 2015 Community-Led Total Sanitation
Issue 180 Feb 27 2015 Water Quality
Issue 179 Feb 20 2015 Focus on WASH & Nutrition
Issue 178 Feb 13 2015 Focus on Barriers to Improved Cookstove Adoption
Issue 177 Feb 6 2015 Focus on Rainwater Harvesting (RWH)
Issue 176 Jan 30 2015 Focus on Fecal Sludge Management (FSM)
Issue 175 Jan 23 2015 Focus on WASH & Zoonotic Diseases
Issue 174 Jan 16 2015 Focus on Handwashing Research
Issue 173 Jan 9 2015 Focus on Multiple-Use Water Services

2014

Issue 172 Dec 19 2014 Focus on Clean Cookstoves
Issue 171 Dec 12 2014 Focus on WASH & Nutrition
Issue 170 Dec 5 2014 Focus on WASH & Climate Change
Issue 169 Nov 26 2014 Focus on Monitoring, Evaluation, Resolution, and Learning (MERL)
Issue 169 Nov 14 2014 Focus on World Toilet Day 2014
Issue 168 Nov 7 2014 Focus on WASH in Public Facilities
Issue 167 Oct 31 2014 Focus on WASH and Ebola
Issue 166 Oct 24 2014 Focus on Clean Cookstoves
Issue 165 Oct 10 2014 Focus on Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)
Issue 164 Oct 3 2014 World Habitat Day – Focus on Slums
Issue 163 Sept 26 2014 Focus on Sanitation as a Business
Issue 162 Sept 19 2014 Focus on WASH & Human Rights
Issue 161 Sept 12 2014 Focus on Rural Water Supply
Issue 160 Sept 5 2014 Focus on WASH & Nutrition
Issue 159 August 29 2014 Focus on Cookstoves Monitoring & Testing
Issue 158 August 22 2014 Focus on WASH and Monitoring
Issue 157 August 8 2014 Focus on Disease Outbreaks
Issue 156 August 1 2014 Focus on Hand Washing
Issue 155 July 25 2014 Focus on Clean Cooking in Nepal
Issue 154 July 18 2014 Focus on Gaming Applications for WASH
Issue 153 July 11 2014 Focus on Fecal Sludge Management
Issue 152 July 3 2014 Focus on WASH and Nutrition
Issue 151 June 27 2014 Focus on Violence and Gender in the WASH and
Issue 150 June 20 2014 Focus on Gender Mainstreaming and Clean Cookstoves
Issue 149 June 6 2014 Focus on Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)
Issue 148 May 30 2014 Focus on the Future of Water
Issue 147 May 23 2014 Focus on Menstrual Hygiene Day
Issue 146 May 16 2014 Focus on Clean Cookstoves and Behavior Change
Issue 145 May 9 2014 Focus on Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
Issue 144 May 2 2014 Focus on Sanitation
Issue 143 April 25 2014 Focus on WASH and Nutrition=
Issue 142 April 18 2014 Focus on Sanitation and Water for All
Issue 141 April 11 2014 Focus on WASH and Maternal Health
Issue 140 April 4 2014 Focus on Child Feces Disposal
Issue 139 March 28 2014 Global Burden of Disease from Household Air Pollution
Issue 138 March 21 2014 Focus on World Water Day 2014
Issue 137 March 7 2014 Focus on Multiple-Use Water Services
Issue 136 February 28 2014 Focus on Learning from Failure
Issue 135 February 21 2014 Focus on WASH-Related Diseases
Issue 134 February 14 2014 Focus on WASH and Small Towns
Issue 133 February 7 2014 Focus on WASH and Design Thinking
Issue 132 January 31 2014 Focus on Handwashing
Issue 131 January 24 2014 Focus on WASH and Nutrition
Issue 130 January 17 2014 Focus on Sanitation Marketing
Issue 129 January 10 2014 Focus on Carbon Finance for Cookstoves
Issue 128 January 3 2014 Focus on Microfinance

2013

Issue 127 December 20 2013 Focus on Inclusive WASH
Issue 126 December 13 2013 Focus on Community-Led Total Sanitation
Issue 125 December 6 2013 Focus on ICS Adoption in Bangladesh
Issue 124 November 22 2013 Household Water Treatment & Safe Storage
Issue 123 November 15 2013 Focus on World Toilet Day 2013
Issue 122 November 8 2013 Focus on Self Supply
Issue 121 November 1 2013 Focus on the Health Impacts of WASH Interventions
Issue 120 October 11 2013 Focus on Hand Washing
Issue 119 October 4 2013 Focus on Cookstoves and Consumers
Issue 118 September 27 2013 Focus on Management of Health Care Waste
Issue 117 September 20 2013 Focus on WASH and Nutrition
Issue 116 September 13 2013 Focus on Rural Water Supply
Issue 115 September 6 2013 Focus on Monitoring & Evaluation of Cookstoves
Issue 114 August 30 2013 Focus on Water Cooperation
Issue 113 August 23 2013 Focus on WASH and Emergencies
Issue 112 August 16 2013 Focus on Sanitation Marketing
Issue 111 August 9 2013 Cholera Prevention and Control
Issue 110 August 2 2013 Household Energy and Climate Change
Issue 109 July 26 2013 Focus on Rural Water Supply and Sanitation
Issue 108 July 19 2013 Focus on Food Hygiene

Issue 107 July 12 2013 Focus on Menstrual Hygiene Management, 2nd Edition
Issue 106 July 3 2013 Focus on Behavior Change

Issue 105 June 28 2013 Focus on Sanitation for Preschool-Age Children
Issue 104 June 7 2013 Focus on Microfinance for Sanitation
Issue 103 May 31 2013 Focus on Cookstove Fuels
Issue 102 May 24 2013 Focus on WASH-Related Diseases
Issue 101 May 17 2013 Focus on Rainwater Harvesting
Issue 100 May 10 2013 Focus on Community-Led Total Sanitation
Issue 99 May 3 2013 Focus on Water and Food Security
Issue 98 April 26 2013 Cookstoves and the Environment
Issue 97 April 19 2013 A Hand Washing Update
Issue 96 April 12 2013 Focus on Financing WASH Services
Issue 95 April 5 2013 Focus on Urban Sanitation
Issue 94 March 29 2013 Focus on Health Impacts of Household Air Pollution
Issue 93 March 21 2013 Focus on World Water Day 2013
Issue 92 March 15 2013 Focus on WASH Sustainability
Issue 91 March 8 2013 Focus on Gender Issues
Issue 90 February 22 2013 Focus on Sanitation Marketing
Issue 89 February 15 2013 Focus on Household Water Treatment & Safe Storage (HWTS)

Issue 88 February 8 2013 Focus on Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue 87 February 1 2013 Focus on Cookstove Stacking
Issue 86 January 25 2013 Focus on WASH and Maternal Health
Issue 85 January 18 2013 Focus on Post-2015 MDG Goals, Targets and Indicators
Issue 84 January 11 2013 Focus on WASH and Environmental Conservation

2012

Issue 83 December 21 2012 Focus on HAP and the Global Burden of Disease
Issue 82 December 14 2012 Focus on Community-Led Total Sanitation
Issue 81 December 7 2012 Focus on Water Kiosks
Issue 80 November 30 2012 Focus on Fecal Sludge Management
Issue 79 November 16 2012 Focus on World Toilet Day 2012
Issue 78 November 9 2012 Focus on World Pneumonia Day 2012
Issue 77 November 2 2012 Focus on Water Conflicts
Issue 76 October 26 2012 Focus on Climate Change
Issue 75 October 19 2012 Focus on Waste Pickers
Issue 74 October 12 2012 Global Handwashing Day
Issue 73 October 5 2012 Focus on Water Technologies
Issue 72 September 28 2012 Focus on Entrepreneurship in WASH and Household Energy
Issue 71 September 14 2012 Focus on Household Water Treatment & Safe Storage
Issue 70 September 7 2012 Focus on WASH and Child Survival
Issue 69 August 31 2012 Focus on Biogas for Cookstoves
Issue 68 August 24 2012 Focus on Multiple-Use Water Services
Issue 67 August 17 2012 Focus on Water and Food Security
Issue 66 August 10 2012 Focus on Cholera Prevention and Control
Issue 65 August 3 2012 Focus on Menstrual Hygiene Management
Issue 64 July 27 2012 Focus on Marketing Cookstoves
Issue 63 July 20 2012 Focus on HIV AIDS and WASH
Issue 62 July 13 2012 Focus on Soil-Transmitted Helminth Infections
Issue 61 July 6 2012 Focus on Community-Led Total Sanitation
Issue 60 June 29 2012 Focus on WASH in Emergencies
Issue 59 June 8 2012 Focus on Public-Private Partnerships
Issue 58 June 1 2012 Focus on WASH-Related Diseases
Issue 57 May 25 2012 Focus on the Integration of WASH and the Prevention of IAP
Issue 56 May 18 2012 Focus on Water Security

Issue 55 May 11 2012 An Update on Sludge Management
Issue 54 May 4 2012 Focus on Self Supply
Issue 53 April 27 2012 Focus on Cookstove Adoption
Issue 52 April 20 2012 Focus on Small-Scale WASH Service Providers
Issue 51 April 13 2012 A Hygiene Behavior Update
Issue 50 April 6 2012 Focus on the Informal Sector and Solid Waste Management
Issue 49 March 30 2012 Focus on Nanotechnology
Issue 48 March 23 2012 Focus on Urban Health
Issue 46 March 8 2012 Gender Considerations for WASH and IAP
Issue 45 March 2 2012 A Focus on Multiple-Use Water Services (MUS)
Issue 44 February 24 2012 A Focus on Adoption of WASH and IAP Interventions
Issue 43 February 17 2012 A Focus on Ecological Sanitation
Issue 42 February 10 2012 WASH and Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue 41 February 3 2012 Year in Review, Household Water Treatment & Safe Storage
Issue 40 January 27 2012 Health Impacts of WASH and IAP Interventions from 2011
Issue 39 January 20 2012 Year in Review – 10 Key Studies on CLTS from 2011
Issue 37 January 6 2012 Focus on WASH and IAP Technologies

2011

Issue 36 December 16 2011 Focus on Financing Examples for WASH and IAP Interventions
Issue 35 December 9 2011 Focus on Water Safety Plans
Issue 34 December 2 2011 Focus on Rainwater Harvesting
Issue 33 November 18 2011 Focus on World Toilet Day and Communal Sanitation
Issue 32 November 11 2011 Focus on the Prevention of Pneumonia

Issue 31 November 4 2011 Focus on Water Point Mapping
Issue 30 October 28 2011 Focus on Menstrual Hygiene Management

Issue 29 October 21 2011 Focus on Carrying Water
Issue 28 October 14 2011 Focus on WASH and Climate Change
Issue 27 October 7 2011 Focus on Hand Washing
Issue 26 September 30 2011 Focus on WASH and Humanitarian Assistance
Issue 25 September 23 2011 Focus on Sanitation Marketing
Issue 24 September 9 2011 Focus on Reuse in Sanitation
Issue 23 September 2 2011 Focus on WASH for the Disabled
Issue 21 August 19 2011 Focus on Sludge Management
Issue 20 August 12 2011 Focus on Cholera Prevention and Control
Issue 19 August 5 2011 Focus on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
Issue 18 July 29 2011 Focus on Prevention and Treatment of Diarrhea
Issue 17 July 22 2011 Focus on Drinking Water Quality
Issue 16 July 15 2011 Focus on HIV AIDS and WASH
Issue 15 July 8 2011 Focus on Marketing Approaches
Issue 14 July 1 2011 Focus on Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage
Issue 13 June 24 2011 Focus on Hygiene Behavior
Issue 12 June 17 2011 Focus on Mobile Technologies
Issue 11 June 10 2011 Focus on Monitoring and Evaluation
Issue 11 June 3 2011 Focus on the Health Impacts of WASH Interventions
Issue 9 May 27 2011 Focus on Financing
Issue 8 May 20 2011 Focus on WASH and Urban Issues
Issue 8 May 13 2011 Focus on Community-Led Total Sanitation

Issue 7 May 6 2011 Focus on Gender & WASH
Issue 6 April 29 2011 Focus on the Integration of IAQ WASH and Schools
Issue 5 April 22, 2011 Focus on the Integration of WASH and IAQ
Issue 4 April 15, 2011 Focus on Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage
Issue 3 April 8, 2011 Focus on Handwashing
Issue 2 April 1 2011 Focus on Sanitation

Issue 1 March 1 2011 Welcome to Washplus Updates

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WASHplus Year Five Annual Report, October 2015

WASHplus Year 5 Annual Report.png

In its Year Five Annual Report, WASHplus has stories to tell, results to share, events to celebrate, and studies that add to the evidence base. WASHplus activities serve as the backdrop for many stories: the Zambian school girl who has access to privacy and menstrual supplies when she needs them, the Malian household that can now build an improved latrine on their rocky soil, the mother in Bangladesh who understands the importance of a feces-free environment, the Nepali home breathing cleaner air as it trials an improved cookstove. And perhaps more compelling than the individual stories are the results the project is beginning to record through endline data collection in Kenya and formative research on school enrollment and in Zambia. Providing water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure to schools is having a notable impact on enrollment. Community-led total sanitation (CLTS) may be inoculating communities exposed to cholera. Numbers also tell the story of the project’s impact. Look for a snapshot of those figures throughout the report.

The conclusion of field activities in Uganda and Zambia this year provided opportunities to reflect, celebrate accomplishments through end-of-project (EOP) events, and share lessons learned. Several articles were published this year in peer-reviewed journals and others submitted on topics ranging from consumer preferences and willingness to pay for improved cookstoves to habit formation and costing of handwashing. WASHplus also played a key role in preparing the joint document on WASH and nutrition for publication and distribution.

WASHplus’s focus on integrating WASH into other development initiatives enabled the project to get in on the ground floor on subjects that are gaining traction at USAID and globally, such as WASH and nutrition, neglected tropical diseases, and MHM. This integration focus dovetailed nicely with the project’s mandate to serve a technical leadership role, and project staff had many opportunities this year to share its work and lessons from the field on a global stage, strategize with partners on important advocacy issues, inform policy, and develop guidance in multiple countries. Also toward that end, WASHplus launched its first two learning briefs on small doable actions and WASH and nutrition. This series details the variety of approaches WASHplus uses to improve WASH and household air pollution (HAP) across its portfolio of countries.

And finally, it’s been an exciting year for innovation with pilot projects underway in Ethiopia and Bangladesh focusing on sanitation marketing and sand envelopment. These two efforts will add to WASHplus’s body of knowledge on sanitation innovation and aligns closely with USAID’s global interest on the topic. WASHplus is also documenting its fecal sludge management work in Madagascar to tell the next chapter in that story.

SPLASH Project Wraps Up Four Years

SPLASH MHM

A SPLASH staffer displays MHM materials at the end of project event. Hygiene Behavior Change Technician Mayombo Mandevu displays SPLASH menstrual hygiene management products, accomplishments, and stories at the end-of-project event.

WASHplus’s Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene (SPLASH) project ended its four-year program with an event held on August 20 in Lusaka. The half-day event was designed to showcase the different activities that SPLASH carried out to deliver a truly comprehensive school WASH program, what was learned in the process, and most importantly, to advocate for WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) to be adopted nationally by the Ministry of Education (MOE) as a key element of quality education. To this end, SPLASH invited every provincial chief of the MOE to attend, along with a range of stakeholders from the WASH and education sectors. The 80 attendees were divided into groups and made the rounds to eight themed stations designed and manned by SPLASH and Government of Zambia partner staff. Each booth showcased a SPLASH intervention with its key activities, achievements, and lessons learned displayed on a poster. A flurry of publications were finalized for the event, including A Teacher’s Guide to Integrating WASH in Schools, School WASH Facilities Operations and Maintenance Guidelines, and two new stories from the field on integrating WASH into existing government programs and infrastructure and school enrollment.

To respond to the project objective of improving learning outcomes, SPLASH undertook a longitudinal study for three terms in 124 intervention and control schools. Results of this analysis by school term indicate a statistically significant effect of the intervention for all indicators tracked: student absenteeism (roll call and two-week recall), teacher absenteeism, and student-teacher contact time. It shows that WASH improvements in schools can reduce student absenteeism by up to 50 percent.

Sarah Fry – What Does WASH in Schools Have to Do with Building Bridges?

by Sarah Fry, SPLASH WASHplus Project, August 2015.

That’s literally, not figuratively, building bridges. Two weeks ago I would not have been able to even understand that question, but today I have a story to share with you. First of all, hello from Zambia. As the WASHplus activity manager for the USAID funded activity called SPLASH (Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene), I have been here since early July working with our team to see this activity to its end on September 30th.

The author on the road in Chadiza District
The author on the road in Chadiza District

SPLASH began in early 2012, and since then has built over 3,000 school toilets, drilled, equipped or rehabilitated over 400 water points for schools, provided permanent handwashing and drinking water stations, and worked with teachers, the national government and local government to ensure that good hygiene practices and stronger systems for operating and maintaining school WASH facilities are put in place, and will stay in place. These activities have taken place in Zambia’s Eastern Province.

Before SPLASH started, Chief of Party Justin Lupele and I went on a “Road Show” out to the districts, where we introduced SPLASH to the government officials and local committees and started to build ownership and participation. The last three years have been a whirlwind of activity – construction, training, community mobilizing, monitoring, publicizing, documenting. Justin and I thought that as the project nears its end, it would be good to go on another grand tour to get a solid sense of what has happened, what has changed, and maybe, what does it all mean. The only requirement we set was to not alert any schools that we were coming to visit.

Zambia is a vast, not densely populated country. Visiting schools requires spending a lot of time in vehicles riding on rough and dusty country roads. These distances impressed upon me how much staff and building contractor time and effort it took to reach the schools to carry out SPLASH activities. Bumping along, I had a chance to think and look forward to what we would find. I certainly expected to see positive changes and improvements at SPLASH schools. However, nothing prepared me for the sea of change that unfolded before us as we made our way to about 20 schools, mostly rural, but a few urban ones as well.

A school in Chipata
A school in Chipata

In 2012, we heard many complaints from schools about how communities were misusing their boreholes and denying any responsibility when they broke down. Now, every school has active WASH committee and pupil WASH Club and all are engaged in some form of joint school-community fundraising for maintenance and repair of the borehole. Handwashing after toilet use and before eating was a nearly universal practice by pupils, a habit acquired even if group handwashing hadn’t been inaugurated yet.

A major achievement was the presence of soap at almost all handwashing stations – stealing soap is a thing of the past, we were told, because pupils want and like to wash their hands. Through the WASH Clubs peer education, they feel that the stations and the soap belong to them. Going beyond peer education, some WASH Clubs are visiting local health centers and performing hygiene skits and poems for women gathered for pre-natal and under-five clinics. In addition, Teachers were delighted with drinking water stations close to the classrooms because time away from lessons was reduced.

Possibly the biggest change was the universal acceptance of Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) as a necessary and welcome part of the school program. Zambia, like many African countries, has taboos, myths and restrictions around menstruation, which is almost never discussed openly. Facilities and support for menstruating girls in schools is nearly absent, causing girls to stay home and miss weeks of lessons during the school year. Girls at SPLASH schools were thrilled with their beautiful washrooms –shower/toilet structures built to accommodate MHM.

However, no one had anticipated the envy of the boys, who are now demanding their own washrooms to clean up after sports. MHM has entered into the vocabulary and into the culture, to the point where one WASH Committee was holding pad making parties for the girls, but then headed out into the community to distribute them to women in need. The taboos around menstruation seem to have melted away.

While the news from schools is very good– and we will soon be able to quantify what kind of effect SPLASH had on the schools the – we encountered even more good news during this visit, outcomes that I can only call “unexpected consequences” of WASH in schools, and that frankly, I was unprepared for. The big apparent message is that WASH in schools can lift an entire community up and can bring about changes that were previously not possible.

Launching SPLASH with School Led Total Sanitation “triggering” shifted social norms in surrounding communities around open defecation practices to such a degree that we heard of headmen ordering all households to build latrines or pay a fine! Over a thousand household latrines have been built as a result.

In one school receiving a water point, a new classroom block was built where previously there was only a thatched shelter. Teachers’ houses have gone up, and a new water source at another school enabled a clinic to be built nearby.

Classroom before SPLASH in Mambwe District
Classroom before SPLASH in Mambwe District

Every single school stocked soap and toilet paper – a miracle right there – and consequently local shops were seeing a rise in sales of hygiene products. Some schools have a “one child one bottle” policy, leading local businesses to stock up on drinks to satisfy the demand for bottles.

One of the best “unexpected outcome” is the engagement of artisans in building the latrines and washrooms, and who, in the process, have gained marketable skills.

They have found work on road crews (may the work be speeded up!) and other local construction projects and in one case were solicited by a health center next to a school that has decided to build an exact replica of a SPLASH toilet.

New classroom block built after SPLASH provided access to a new water source
New classroom block built after SPLASH provided access to a new water source

Leading the parade of successful new entrepreneurs is the ex-SPLASH artisan who proved so competent that once the latrine construction was done, he was hired to oversee the building of a new bridge. And that’s what WASH in schools and building bridges have in common!

Break the silence: Talk about Menstruation

Break the silence- talk about menstruation

By Justin Lupele, Chief of Party, USAID ZAMBIA SPLASH PROJECT / WASHplus / FHI 360

lupele_justin_2013_200x220

This year on May 28, the world commemorates the second Global Menstrual Hygiene Day under the theme “Let’s end the hesitation around menstruation.” The world is being urged to break the silence and talk freely about menstruation as a normal biological process and a key sign of reproductive health.

Some cultures in Zambia and elsewhere treat menstruation as something negative, shameful, or dirty. It is shrouded in taboo and secrecy. In addition, girls’ rights to education are being violated through inadequate menstrual hygiene education, insufficient water and sanitation facilities, and poor access to sanitary menstrual materials. Menstrual hygiene facilities and services keep girls in school where they can reach their full potential.

Speaking at the inaugural World Menstrual Hygiene Day at Kabulonga Girls Secondary School in Lusaka last year, USAID/Zambia Mission Director Dr. Susan Brems urged Zambians to break the silence, to start the conversation, and follow up with positive action for menstrual hygiene management (MHM).

She observed that taboos on the disposal of used menstrual hygiene products and challenges associated with limited access to disposal facilities make it very difficult for girls and young women to participate freely in academic, economic, and social activities.

Head of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights Dr. Jyoti Sanghera of the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights observes that “stigma around menstruation and menstrual hygiene is a violation of several human rights, most importantly, of the right to human dignity… and the right to freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment from abuse and violence.”

USAID/Zambia has over the last four years invested about US $20 million in Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene (SPLASH) to support 616 schools in the Eastern Province through the WASHplus project, implemented by FHI 360, CARE, and Winrock International.

SPLASH and the Ministry of Education Science and Vocational Training and Early Education (MESVTEE), in collaboration with other line ministries, provide girl-friendly sanitation facilities and access to menstrual products.

In the last four years, SPLASH and the MESVTEE have built 263 toilets and ventilated improved pit latrines with shower stalls for girls’ MHM. More than 30,000 girls have benefited from these improvements. These features make it possible for adolescent girls to bathe and change their sanitary pads at school with privacy.

A total of 816 teachers (598 males and 218 females) have been trained as advocates for menstrual hygiene education. The trained teachers share their MHM knowledge with other teachers and members of the community in addition to teaching their pupils. SPLASH has also been working with traditional civic and church leaders to break the silence and taboos associated with MHM. Parents and pupils are talking freely about menstrual hygiene.

At school, both girls and boys are involved in making menstrual pads. Educating boys and men helps dispel myths, stigmas, and negative perceptions about menstruation. Bringing them into conversations about menstruation helps to create a supportive environment for girls and women.

After participating in an MHM exhibition at Kanjala Primary School in Chipata District, one boy had this to say, “As a boy, I have a role to play in MHM. These girls are like our sisters so I’ve learnt that I need to treat them with respect. I was also excited to learn how to make a reusable pad.”

Men and boys are encouraged to participate in pad-making and MHM education to open lines of communication and raise awareness about this once-taboo subject.
Men and boys are encouraged to participate in pad-making and MHM education to open lines of communication and raise awareness about this once-taboo subject.

SPLASH has also forged partnerships with other nongovernmental organizations and private companies to make commercial and local reusable pads. Two of the organizations that have responded to this call are YASH Pharmaceutical Ltd. and Project Luangwa. YASH Pharmaceutical Ltd has produced an eco-friendly washable pad dubbed the pink pad, which is yet to be launched on the Zambian market. According to Mr. Shiva Shankar, YASH Pharmaceuticals Ltd General Manager, the pads can be washed for over 50 times and it is made of eco-friendly textiles, with minimum leakages.

Project Luangwa, in the Mambwe District of Zambia, has established a pad-making project with 60 sewing machines. The project has employed out-of-school girls and women to produce the sanitary pads. Project Luangwa Director Karen Beattie confirms, “Production of the pads is surging ahead and we have four ladies whom we have trained to sew, a cutter and a manager. The pads are definitely helpful to women, and we hope to record their thoughts for an on-line ad.”

Girls from Kamuna Primary School examine reusable pads produced by a public-private partnership between SPLASH and YASH Pharmaceutical. The pads were developed to last for five years, or more than 65 washes.
Girls from Kamuna Primary School examine reusable pads produced by a public-private partnership between SPLASH and YASH Pharmaceutical. The pads were developed to last for five years, or more than 65 washes.

These efforts aim to ease the challenges that adolescent girls face during menstruation. Most of them cannot afford disposal sanitary pads. Some girls miss up to five days a month of learning time due to inadequate sanitation facilities and the lack of sanitary products at school as well as physical discomfort due to menstruation, such as cramps. Others may feel ashamed and embarrassed to go to a school that does not provide menstrual management facilities, and they may simply stop coming to school altogether.

In addition to supporting sanitary pads, SPLASH has produced a number of materials on MHM, including an MHM Toolkit, an MHM brochure, and an MHM success story. SPLASH has also been working with teachers to integrate menstrual hygiene into the curriculum at school, district, and national levels.

Mark your calendars! May 21 #Menstrual Hygiene Twitterchat!

May 21 #MenstrualHygiene Twitter Chat

When: 21st May, 2015, 4 PM CET, 3 PM GMT, 10 AM EST, 7:30 PM IST

Hosted by:

@WASHUnited@WASHAdvocates, @WASHPlusInfo@KachraProject

Hashtag:

#MenstrualHygiene

Themes to be discussed:

  • Men in menstruation!
  • Policy advocacy around the world!
  • Menstrual waste & disposal!

Tweets to promote the chat:

  • If #MenstruationMatters to you, don’t miss the official #MenstrualHygiene Day Twitterchat on May 21 at 3PM GMT / 10AM EST / 7:30PM IST!
  • Join us & help break the silence around periods! Engage in the #MenstrualHygiene Twitterchat on May 21 at 3PM GMT / 10AM EST / 7:30PM IST!
  • If you’re a man, put the ‘MEN’ in menstruation & show your support for May 28 #MenstrualHygiene Day! Break the taboo! http://buff.ly/1Fg8icV 

Zambia—Public-Private Pad-Making Partnership

MHM

At the 2014 Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) Day celebrations in Zambia, YASH Pharmaceuticals partnered with the WASHplus SPLASH (Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene) project, funded by USAID/Zambia, to provide 150 Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) kits for girls at Kabulonga Girl’s Secondary School in Lusaka. The popularity of the reusable pad-making demonstration at the event spurred YASH to undertake its own production of reusable pads. Zambia_ Pad making

In January 2015 YASH and SPLASH signed a memorandum of understanding to codify their public-private partnership. YASH will employ local women to sew reusable pads; 10 percent of all pads produced will be distributed to SPLASH intervention schools where SPLASH provides MHM support and education with the goal of keeping more girls in school. Production is underway and the pads are being piloted in SPLASH intervention schools. Comments received from users so far indicate the pads are of high-quality fabric and very comfortable. SPLASH is seeking additional partners to purchase and distribute pads to other schools so the MHM needs of girls are taken care of and they can focus on learning.