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

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…)

September 29, 2011

Dropping in on development: an exhibition

Filed under: Advocacy,Anita Pradhan's Post,Campaigns,Gender,Menstrual hygiene,Women — Anita Pradhan @ 9:00 am

In a major exhibition held by WaterAid in Nepal, ten Nepalese artists will examine the effect of menstruation and menstrual hygiene on women’s health, girl’s education and gender equality.

The installation and visual performance, Dropping in on development, will be held on Thursday 29 September, 6pm at Hotel Himalaya, Kupondole, Lalitpur, Nepal. A live stream of the exhibition will be available to watch via the website (see below), Facebook and Ustream (6pm NPT/12.15pm BST).

(more…)

August 17, 2011

School sanitation campaign in Nepal

WaterAid in Nepal marked the launch of its school sanitation campaign, with the opening of a photo exhibition, School Sanitation: The Neglected Development Link. The exhibition features striking images by press photographers in Nepal, illustrating the effect of sanitation on the lives of school children across Kathmandu valley. It is inagurated by four years old Bunu Nepal at 3pm on 11 August at the Nepal Art Council, Babarmahal, Kathmandu.

According to Nepal government policy, schools must ensure one toilet for every 50 students. However WaterAid’s analysis shows that the average school toilet serves 127 students, nearly three times as many as the government recommends.  Of Nepal’s 28,000 community schools, only 18,000 have toilets – with only 5580 providing separate toilets for girls.

Every year in Nepal, 10,500 children under the age of five die due to sanitation and drinking water related diseases – more than half of which are girls. Every month teenage girls risk missing several days of class during their menstrual period or, worse, dropping out of school altogether because of a lack of toilet facilities, further entrenching the barriers caused by gender inequality.  It is estimated that nearly two million female students have no access to toilets in school.

WaterAid called on immediate action to be taken to provide separate toilets for girls and boys in schools which are also accessible for disabled students and include facilities to enable girls to hygienically manage their menstruation.

Related links:

News on WaterAid’s Nepal web site
http://nepal.wateraid.org/news/item/62-wateraid-in-nepal-supports-new-photography-exhibition-focusing-on-sanitation-in-schools

Multimedia presentation on youtube

Media coverage
The Rising Nepal (TRN-7.pdf)
The Himalayan Times
Republica
Abhiyan
Kanitpur

Republica photo feature – 19 August 2011 (please view middle pages 8 – 9)

Republica – public comment on the photo feature – 20 August 2011 (please view page number 6)

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This blog was created by WaterAid under the creative commons licence