Exploring preferences, hygienic use and disposal of menstrual materials among adolescent girls

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WaterAid India
Village: Kanti, Block: Fatehpur , District: Gaya, Bihar, India..Adolescent girs participate in a menstrual hygiene management (MHM) sessions by adolescent girls with the help of Amisha Bharti, a WASH worker at Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidhayala (KGBV) i ...
Image: WaterAid/ Dhiraj Singh

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and WaterAid India (WAI) are collaborating on a two-year project (2020-2022) on strengthening menstrual health and hygiene management among adolescent girls in six States (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Telangana).

One of the project components is to develop and implement interventions on informed product choice and menstrual waste management in selected gram panchayats in three districts (Gaya in Bihar, Dindori in Madhya Pradesh, Kanker in Chhattisgarh), and in ten urban slums in Hyderabad district project locations. WaterAid and partners conducted a quantitative survey with 1168 adolescent girls across the four-project locations to:

  • Assess awareness of menstruation, menstrual cycle and menstrual hygiene.
  • Understand access to and usage of menstrual hygiene materials.
  • Understand product maintenance and disposal practices.
  • Explore preferences for menstrual materials and waste disposal solutions in the future.

These insights were used to frame the informed product choice intervention with girls, and potential menstrual waste management solutions to be implemented in rural and urban communities. The findings from this study emphasized the need for promoting choice with regard to menstrual hygiene materials, supporting hygienic use of menstrual materials, and developing context-appropriate disposal solutions.