First Menstrual Hygiene Day Celebrated

Coalition declares first-ever Menstrual Hygiene Day

May 28, 2014, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 07 No. -22 May. 23- 2014 (Jestha 9, 2071)

Each day 219000 Nepalese women between the age of 15-49 are menstruating. However, the hygienic situation in the schools is pathetic. Each day more than 800 million women between the ages of 15 and 49 are menstruating. Yet menstruation remains a taboo subject. Despite menstruation being a natural process that is part of nearly every girl’s and woman’s life, it is still treated as a taboo in countless cultures and societies across the globe.

To address these issues, this year menstrual hygiene day is celebrating globally on May 28. Menstrual Hygiene Day offers the opportunity to create awareness of the right of women and girls to hygienically manage their menstruation – in privacy, safety and with dignity – where ever they are.

According to the study report, WASH Financing in Community Schools of Nepal,t he total number of separate toilets for girls available in community schools is 20,095 against the required 66,801. To reach national standards, it is necessary to build more than 46,700 toilets within 2017 A.D. It means more than 11,000 girl friendly toilets have to be build each year.

Jointly launched by Water Aid’s country representative Ashutosh Tiwari and Jhapper Vishokarma of DoE, the report said the average cost required for the construction for girl-friendly toilet in a school is about NRs.613,000, which refers  26.6 billion additional investment are required to meet one toilet per 50 students.

This means, 6.6 billion rupees required per annum to meet the target of 1:50 ratio by 2017.However, the government could make only Rs. 250,000 per girl friendly toilet. In Fiscal Year 2013, the Department of Education allocated NRs. 500 million to construct the girl-friendly toilets in community schools

Students are facing a lot of problems for the sustainable and hygienic use of toilets due to the lack of water supply, WASH basins and soaps in schools. There is a need for software interventions in schools for raising and fulfilling sanitation demand in community schools.

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 normalise this natural process and help girls and women live healthier and more dignified lives.”

Why the 28th of May?

May is the 5th month of the year, representing 5 days, or the average number of days (between 2-7) a woman or girl spends menstruating each month. And, 28 represent the average number of days in a menstrual cycle.

In Nepal, MHM day was celebrated by organizing different programme which was coordinated by Nepal Fertility Care Center (NFCC) with 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 celebration following programmes was organized, Menstrual Hour was run in schools and on local FM stations in 75 Districts. A formal program was organized at City Museum, where a report on “WASH financing in community schools of Nepal” by DoE and WaterAid Nepal was lunched. Along with this, Private movie screening of Monthlies and Open forum discussion with different government stakeholders was done. 

Marking the first Menstrual Hygiene Day in Kathmandu on 28th May 2014, Department of Education and WaterAid jointly launched a study report on ‘WASH financing in Community Schools of Nepal’ amid a public event organized at the participation of key stakeholders from government, civil society, development partners, INGOs and other representatives of different government . The study analyzed the current situation of WASH facilities in community schools, especially girl’s access to school sanitation and menstrual hygiene facilities and estimated resources required in meeting universal access to school sanitation within the standards set by Department of Education.

According to a study report, there are over 29,000 community schools in Nepal. Among them, only 69% of the schools have separate toilet for girls. Though many schools have separate toilet for girls, most of them do not meet the standard set by Department of Education (DoE).

Department of Education has set the standard norms of one toilet for 50 students but in reality, on an average, one toilet serves 166 girls student in Nepal. Manag is only one district of Nepal where 100% of school have separate toilet for girls student and the toilet student ratio is 1:15. In contrast, only 10% schools have separate toilet for girls in case of Jajarkot district where the toilet student ratio is quite abnormal i.e.  1:1038.

The total number of separate toilets for girls available in community schools is 20,095 against the required 66,801. To reach national standards, it is necessary to build more than 46,700 toilets within 2017 A.D. It means more than 11,000 girl friendly toilets have to be build each year.

The average cost required for the construction for girl-friendly toilet in a school is about NRs.613,000, which refers  26.6 billion additional investment are required to meet one toilet per 50 students. This means, 6.6 billion rupees required per annum to meet the target of 1:50 ratio by 2017.However, the government could make only Rs. 250,000 per girl friendly toilet. In Fiscal Year 2013, the Department of Education allocated NRs. 500 million to construct the girl-friendly toilets in community schools

Students are facing a lot of problems for the sustainable and hygienic use of toilets due to the lack of water supply, WASH basins and soaps in schools. There is a need for software interventions in schools for raising and fulfilling sanitation demand in community schools.

During the program Jhapper Vishokarma of DoE and Ashutosh Tiwari, WaterAid presented the finding of the report.

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