Nepal WASH Blog Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) & Development in Nepal

June 24, 2014

Menstruation Matters!

Filed under: Advocacy,Amrita Gyawali's Post,MHM,Menstrual hygiene,Women — nepalwash @ 12:30 pm

Menstruation Matters!

Menstruation is a part of life and it matters to everyone. It is a natural process that all women have to go through but the societal and cultural stigmatization around menstruation often excludes women from services and opportunities. It is unfortunate that even today, this natural phenomenon is still considered as a taboo in our patriarchal Nepalese society— even in the capital city – Kathmandu where people are mostly educated, these superstitious practices prevail.

It has been documented that girls have lower literacy rate than boys because of not attending schools or dropping school altogether due to lack of clean and safe toilet to change their sanitary napkins or towels along with social and religious restrictions while they are menstruating. Due to fear of humiliation and discomfort, girls prefer staying at home the going to school.

To address these issues, this year for the first time Menstrual Hygiene Day was celebrated globally on May 28. This day was chosen as May is the 5th month of the year, representing 5 days, or the average number of days (2-7) a woman or girl spends menstruating each month. And, 28 represent the average number of days in a menstrual cycle. This day offered the opportunity to create awareness on the right of women and girls to hygienically manage their menstruation in privacy, safety and with dignity – where ever they are.

On 27th and 28th May, many programs were organized, coordinated by Nepal Fertility Care Center (NFCC) with the support from WaterAid Nepal, USAID and UNFPA in partnership with key government departments (FHD, DOE, NFEC, DWC and NHEICC) and other different stakeholders including INGOs, NGOs and civil societies with the theme “Let’s start the conversation about Menstruation”.

As part of the celebrations, different programs were organized such as menstruation hour program in schools and on local FM stations in 75 Districts; formal program at City Museum; a report launching on “WASH financing in community schools of Nepal” by DoE; a video screening ‘Monthlies’ and open forum discussion with different government stakeholders.

Speaking at the program, Mr. Ashutosh Tiwari, WaterAid’s Country Representative for Nepal, said “You might wonder why a water and sanitation INGO is talking about menstrual hygiene. It’s because we are trying to make the important point that for women’s empowerment we should start with something like menstrual hygiene. Reliable access to adequate safe water and sanitation is one critical element which gives women a sense of freedom, and keeps her healthy during menstruation”. He added “By talking about periods, we can help normalize this natural process and help girls and women live healthier and more dignified lives.”

I am thankful that I got an opportunity to deliver the closing remarks on the 27th of May where I raised the issue on hardship of women with disabilities during menstruation days due to lack of disabled friendly toilets in public places. There were around 60 participants and everybody kept talking about the importance of menstrual hygiene, however, not a single person spoke about the need to consider women living with disabilities while talking about menstrual hygiene management. Thus I urged everyone to raise issues on the needs of women living with disabilities while advocating about menstruation hygiene.

This post is written by Amrita Gyawali , E and I consultant

November 13, 2013

Linking WASH into health in the South Asia region

Filed under: Advocacy,Diarrhoea,Health,Hygiene,SACOSAN,SACOSAN V,Sanitation — nepalwash @ 6:27 pm

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are the basic foundations of public health. Therefore Fourth South Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN IV) held in Colombo in April 2011 recognised that ‘Sanitation in South Asia is at crisis point’. Over a billion people do not use improved sanitation and out of those nearly 700 million people practice open defecation – a sanitation facility that ensures hygienic separation of human excreta from immediate human contact is very essential. This situation represents a constant barrier to human and economic development, through direct impact on health, as well as broader impacts on poverty.

The Lancet infectious disease review 2011 clearly highlights that while the correlation between U5 diarrhoea related mortality and sanitation coverage is abundantly clear, the cause and effect chain of WASH related disease in public health are varied and has many fold implications and deserves urgent attention. Adding to its Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group 2012 shows that in South Asia main diseases for under five are Pneumonia 22%; Diarrhoea 11%. Diarrhoea is the second leading cause of death between age 1 and 5 in South Asia region, according to global disease burden 2012. (more…)

September 10, 2013

Photo of the week – 10 September 2013

Story tellers representing school, slum community, women with disability and chhaupadi area together with policy makers, CSOs representative and supporters against discrimination of women during menstruation at the event breaking the silence on menstrual hygiene on 9 September 2013.

June 18, 2013

Photo of the week – 18 June 2013

Filed under: Advocacy,Gender,Menstrual hygiene,Photo of the week — nepalwash @ 9:00 am

Ms Nanda Kala B.K. (15 years old) is forced to stay in open hut (Chaupadi) during menstruation. She has to spend her seven days in every month in the hut. She studies in grade eight at a community school in Ghatgaun VDC, Surkhet district in mid western region. She misses her lessons at schools during the menstrual period as her family does not allow going to the school during the period. This practice is common and taboo topic in some of the districts in mid and far western regions of country. WaterAid Nepal is working together with its partner NGO Nepal Water for Health in this location in providing drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education services. Young girls are taught what not to dos during the period than what to dos. We need to work more addressing inequality that is stopping the girls accessing to education.

April 26, 2013

Taps and toilets help girls stay in school

Taps and toilets help girls stay in school

We all know how important pens and books are in schools. But less well known is how important water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities are too. Schoolgirls in particular find it difficult to stay in school if there is a lack of clean, safe toilets. Without these basic facilities, the gender ratio of school-going children will never be balanced.

In Nepal, girls are treated differently to boys from early childhood, due to social and cultural beliefs. As a result, they tend to be shy, and find it hard to use mixed toilets. Mixed toilets often lack the necessary facilities for menstural hygiene management, leaving them nowhere to clean or dispose of their sanitary pads. As a result, many girls miss school or drop out completely, affecting their academic performance and limiting their options as adults. (more…)

November 19, 2012

To have or not to have toilet Not enough done

Filed under: Advocacy,Campaigns,Diarrhoea,Nepal,Sanitation — nepalwash @ 9:00 am

Why care whether all Nepalis have access to toilets or not?

From experience, we have learnt that not doing something about ensuring toilet access is likely to lead to people’s deaths, especially those of poor women and children. For evidence, consider what happened in the hills of Doti district in far western Nepal only this past summer.

On the 1st of June, an outbreak of diarrhea was reported in Baglek VDC in Doti. Affected people started visiting the local sub-health post. In a matter of days, it was clear that the diarrheal outbreak was not confined only to Baglek. Patients from adjacent clusters of villages started streaming into the overwhelmed health post, which had neither adequate beds nor enough nurses.

By the time the health post reported 116 cases, including three deaths, to the district health officers, the diarrheal disease had spread to 10 surrounding VDCs and to Dipayal and Silguri, the two towns that lie on the hilly highway. It was clear that what Doti faced was not an ordinary diarrheal ailment that would run its course and die out. (more…)

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