To promote dialogue, influence global priorities, and promote sustainability on key global issues related to MHM, pubertal health transitions, and sanitation, we engage in global advocacy and networking including convening meetings and conferences:
Monitoring Menstrual Health and Hygiene: Measuring Progress for Girls related to Menstruation
In March 2019, Columbia University and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) co-convened a multi-sectoral group of researchers, practitioners, and monitoring and evaluation specialists for a three-day meeting in Geneva, Switzerland to identify priority indicators across key sectors (education, psychosocial health, sexual and reproductive health, WASH, and gender) within global health and development, and assess alignment of the identified priority indicators with menstruation. The focus of the meeting was on the menstruation-related issues impacting girls in and out of school, as they represent the population for which there exists the strongest existing body of evidence. Key findings from the meeting include:
- Addressing menstruation in societies around the world that have ongoing menstrual restrictions and taboos that are relevant for the design of interventions is very complex.
- There continue to be significant gaps in what is known, such as an understanding of the bleeding patterns of adolescents in low-income contexts, including timing of menstrual onset, the implications of menstruation for anemia, and the existence and quality of teacher sensitivity training on the topic for girls’ successful classroom engagement.
- Menstruation has a critical role of influencing the five identified areas to achieve their respective goals. For example, to reduce child marriage, countries need to ascertain if the onset of menses increases girls’ vulnerability to marriage at a young age.
- Menstruation-focused interventions have an important role to influence outcomes and impacts across sectors but with contributions occurring lower down on the results chain.
For more information please read our Green Paper which briefly details the background, key discussions, and proposed next steps from the meeting.
Sommer, M., Zulaika, G., Schmitt, M., Gruer, C. (Eds.) Monitoring Menstrual Health and Hygiene: Measuring Progress for Girls on Menstruation; Meeting Report. New York & Geneva: Columbia University and WSSCC. 2019.
MHM in Ten
MHM in Ten is a ten-year agenda (2014-2024) for MHM in schools. The MHM in Ten agenda was developed through a series of annual meetings co-organized by Columbia University and UNICEF, in 2014, 2015 and 2016 that brought together a wide range of actors, including academics, donors, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), United Nations agencies, the private sector, advocacy organizations and national governments –from a variety of sectors, including water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education, gender, sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and adolescence. Participants share a common vision, that in 2024, girls around the world are knowledgable about and comfortable with their menstruation, and are able to manage their menses in school in a comfortable, safe and dignified way. For more information.
Sommer, M., Caruso, B., Sahin, M., Calderon, T., Cavill, S., Mahon, T., Phillips-Howard, PA. (2013). A Time for Global Action: Addressing Girls’ Menstrual Hygiene Management Needs in Schools. PLOS Medicine. 13(2): e1001962.
Phillips-Howard, P.A., Caruso, B., Torondel, B., Zulaika, G., Sahin, M. & Sommer, M. (2016). Menstrual hygiene management among adolescent schoolgirls in low-and middle-income countries: research priorities. Global health action, 9(1), 33032.