How can we ensure safe menstrual hygiene management, promote period positivity, and increase the attendance of girls at Shree Tribhuvan High School, Suryapatwa, Bardia?

SDG 3- Good health and well-being
Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
SDG 4-Quality Education
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong opportunities for all
SDG 5- Gender equality
Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”
Menstruating girls are often seen as impure despite this being something natural. In some parts of Nepal girls and women who bleed are required to spend time in a hut, away from the home. They are not allowed to cook, be in the home or touch animals as this is considered to bring misfortune to the family. At times, girls who start menstruating miss school and fall behind with their learning. This impacts their access to higher education and exposes them to marriage at a young age.
This issue is prevalent throughout the country of Nepal, mostly in the rural areas. The school community we will be working with is representative of the Village of Madhuban in Bardia district of Mid-Western Nepal. The existing social norms and lack of positive interventions has allowed the menstrual stigma, shame and discomfort to continue to be a factor behind lower attendance and high school dropout rates among adolescent girls. This has much bigger implications resulting in early age marriage and the whole vicious cycle of inequality against women.
We will be working with community leaders, the girls who attend the school and the director. There might also be interventions from leaders in the field as well as representatives from the UN.
The major partners to our school in this initiative are ‘Schools for SDGs,’ ‘Nepal Conservation’ and ‘Himalayan Voluntourism’ who will be facilitating on all levels. We will be working with a local school, local Women’s Group and the Madhuban Municipality and Ward officials.
Half of the world’s population are women. If we are to ensure that all women have the same opportunities as men, then access to education is crucial. Girls are being deprived of their education because of a natural, biological occurrence. If you care about equality, access to education and a safe, hygienic way for women and girls to manage their periods than together we can find solutions.
  • Why are periods considered ‘dirty’?
  • What role does the school play? Is there provision for women and girls to manage their periods?
  • How do the elders in the community support the younger girls?
  • What organisations already exist in Nepal to break the stigma associated with menstruation?
  • How can boys become an ally in promoting period positivity?
  • What is the context of history and background of the community relating to the issue?
  • What is the meaning of school and education to the adolescent girls in the area? What are the pull and push factors usually causing the low school attendance and high dropout rates among the girls?
  • What are the perceptions around menstruation? How does it affect girls’ education? What positive interventions have been brought and what changes have been observed?
  • How do we go about designing an effective intervention around a sensitive topic in a given cultural setting? (e.g. knowing key stakeholders, theory of change etc.)
  • How do we model an intervention in bringing ‘period positivity’ in the Madhuban village to address the issue?