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Today is Menstrual Hygiene Day is 28 May!

What if a woman’s or girls’ ability to care for her menstrual health with dignity is not just an outcome we should aim for but also an indicator of whether she is truly empowered?

Menstrual health requires supportive social norms, policies, processes and products to be accessible and shame-free. For these to be in place, they must be established at a more systemic level, which will have an impact on more than just menstrual health. So, if we can find a way to measure whether women and girls truly can manage their menstrual health with dignity, could that be an indicator of empowerment? That would mean that menstrual health isn’t just an outcome in and of itself. It is a driver of empowerment.

We know menstrual health is a complex issue to address. It is not simply the provision of things – of toilets, menstrual hygiene products or clean water for cleansing. It is the provision of all those things together, plus so much more that is more difficult to achieve and measure – social norms, behaviour change, partnership, safety, equity, and more. We know that these are the essential ingredients not just to menstrual health but to human thriving, and that all of us – development actors, funders, government, the faith community, academia, the private sector and individuals – can bring part of the solution, but none of us brings it all. We do play a role in this global movement, and commemorating Menstrual Hygiene Day is part of it.

Menstrual Hygiene Day is part of the global effort to advocate for action to change negative social norms and practices, to catalyze progress on MH education, and to ensure everyone has access to products. We need more action from governments, funders, UN agencies and the private sector. 

Find out more about MH Day on the MH Day website. KEEP AN EYE OUT for a NEW CROWD-SOURCED VIDEO from the organisers of Menstrual Hygiene Day, which will be our global call-to-action for MH Day! 
SAGE DREAMS - Menstrual Hygiene supports keeping girls in schools

One of the best embodiments of integrated programming addressing the nexus of violence and health is the Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored and Safe (DREAMS) Initiative administered by the U.S. Department of State and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). World Vision implements DREAMS programming in four countries (Kenya, Mozambique, Uganda, and Swaziland) and is a proud winner of the DREAMS Innovation Challenge for its Strengthening School Community Accountability for Girls Education (SAGE) project in Uganda, which is featured on this page.

Our baseline survey with 45,000 adolescent girls in Uganda sadly revealed that 70% had experienced school-related sexual and gender-based violence within the previous six months. SAGE aims to reduce secondary school dropout among these girls (targeting those 13-19 years), in 151 schools in 10 districts. The project uses a two-pronged strategy of an Early Warning System (EWS) and Stay in School Committees (SISC) to transform social norms and practices, reduce risks of early marriage, pregnancy, gender-based violence, and HIV infection, and support girls to stay in school.

These efforts include menstrual hygiene. This video demonstrates focuses on the impact of menstrual hygiene programming on adolescent girls in Uganda. Read more about SAGE DREAMS.

What is World Vision doing at Women Deliver 2019?

World Vision is taking an active role at Women Deliver, which will be 3-6 June in Vancouver, Canada. Women Deliver conferences are the world’s largest global convenings to focus on the health, rights and well-being of girls and women. Building on the successes of Women Deliver's four previous global gatherings—in London in 2007, in Washington in 2010, in Kuala Lumpur in 2013, the 2016 WD conference brought together 5,700 people with representatives from world leaders, advocates, policymakers, journalists, 600 young people, researchers and leaders of the private sector and civil society and showcased what it means and how it works when women and girls become the focus of development efforts. The focus of the conference was on how to implement the SDGs as they relate to girls and women, with a specific focus on health – in particular, maternal, sexual, and reproductive health and rights – and the inter-connections with gender equality, education, environment, and economic empowerment. 

World Vision is hosting and participating in many events, several of which feature the impact of WASH on women and girls. Check out our event flyer to see all our activities at the conference. For more information, visit the conference website (which should be live by 28 May -- if you get an error message, check back in a day! The new site is going live this week!). 

Have questions?  
Meet Kristie Urich, CKM - WASH Knowledge Management and Capabilities Manager.
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