WaterAid launches 4 Days of Fun in support of menstrual hygiene

Created in collaboration with MITRA Samaj, the 4 Days of Fun campaign aims to promote good menstrual hygiene and dispel the myths surrounding menstruation.

News

6 Jan 2016

This December, WaterAid Nepal and MITRA Samaj, a Nepalese NGO that aims to empower communities, celebrated the launch of 4 Days of Fun, a new campaign to promote good menstrual hygiene and tackle the myths that surround menstruation.

As well as raising awareness of the issues surrounding menstrual health, the campaign aims to reduce girls’ absenteeism from school, and has already reached 40 schools and around 10,000 students.

In 2014, around 21% of adolescent girls missed classes while on their period because of a lack of clean and a decent place to go to the toilet.

'Impure' and 'untouchable'

Menstrual hygiene is a neglected issue in Nepal. Surrounded by stigma and taboo, it causes many women and girls significant challenges in their daily lives.

Many families consider women and girls impure or untouchable while they are menstruating. As a result, they are often not allowed to enter the kitchen, in case they make the food go bad, or visit the temple, through fear the gods will become furious.

The situation is particularly extreme in western Nepal, where a tradition called Chhaupadi is observed. For five to seven days during menstruation, women and girls are forced to sleep in outdoor sheds known as goths: exposed huts without walls, and sometimes without a roof.

Breaking the silence around menstrual hygiene

These are the issues the 4 Days of Fun campaign hopes to address, with activities including awareness raising sessions, article writing classes and selfie competitions, to highlight the importance of menstrual hygiene among schoolchildren.

Students launch the 4 Days of Fun campaign.Students launch the 4 Days of Fun campaign.

“The campaign has been very helpful. I’m no longer reluctant to buy sanitary pads for my mother and sister,” says student Dorge Bolan.

As part of the campaign, infotainment games have also been launched at four government ministries, to urge officials to promote menstrual hygiene practices and discourage taboos around menstruation in policy and legislation.

These infotainment games include a carrom board where each carrom carries a number that participants try to strike and score. Every number has a message on menstrual hygiene management and sanitary items as prizes.

Around 100 government officials have taken part in the campaign, pledging their commitment to breaking the silence around menstrual hygiene.

When your period is considered a curse (WaterAid UK website) >