Since March 2022, female students at Halishahar Mokbulia Govt. Primary School in Chattogram have had uninterrupted access to hygiene corners, which ensure menstrual hygiene management for adolescent girls who are experiencing menstruation concerns for the first time when they are in classes four and five. These hygiene corners are proving to be highly valuable as during their menstrual cycle, adolescent schoolgirls require accurate and adequate information about menstruation and its appropriate management.
Following the implementation of WSUP's project to improve facilities and promote hygiene awareness, the School Management Committee (SMC) was able to set up a hygiene corner in the WASH block for the girls to have access to sanitary napkins and other necessary items during menstruation.
With the encouragement and support of senior teachers such as Mohammad Shafiq, SMC was able to set up this hygiene corner on their own, managing funds and routinely restocking the items as needed. One of the primary goals of establishing this hygiene corner was to improve menstrual hygiene management at this school. Another goal of continuity was to educate girls on menstrual hygiene-related knowledge, services, and practices. As a result, school absenteeism among adolescent girls has reduced, which is noticeable.
Aklima Khatun, hygiene specialist of WSUP Bangladesh, was highly pleased with the support extended by SMC. She mentioned that this was the only school among the 125 primary schools that are supported by WSUP Bangladesh and Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives across three city corporations, which managed to also provide financial assistance for the program by themselves. She also praised Mohammad Shafiq, one of the senior teachers who played a pivotal role in the School WASH program from start to finish, and helped to set up and manage the hygiene corner.
“Menstrual hygiene management has an enormous impact but is less focused”
The Bangladesh National Hygiene Baseline Survey (BNHBS) has revealed limited knowledge among girls about menstruation and a lack of suitable facilities, which are having a combined impact on girls’ education. 40% of girls miss approximately three school days during menstruation and one-third perceive that menstrual problems interfere with their school performance (BNHBS, 2014). 86% do not change their sanitary protection while at school, mostly because of having no proper changing room BNHBS (2014). WSUP representatives trained the teachers on how to educate students about menstrual hygiene management.