eBASE Africa is piloting a Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) intervention aimed at increasing school attendance for over 10,000 adolescent girls in 15 schools located in education priority zones of Cameroon (East, North West and Far North Regions).
This is a comprehensive MHM intervention that consists of improving MHM facilities for female learners including MHM waste management facilities, provision of MHM supplies to female learners, capacity building for teachers, and sensitisation campaigns on MHM in schools and communities. With recommendations from research and the ministry of secondary education, this intervention employs environmentally friendly waste disposal approaches and integration of MHM safe spaces into existing school structures. Moreover, this pilot intervention is being evaluated to test its feasibility, acceptability, and readiness for trial in the context of Cameroon.
Safe MHM Spaces will consist of portable water access; freely available pads, pants, and painkillers in a dignity pack; MHM informational flyers and posters; girls friendly toilets; environmentally friendly (recyclable) waste disposal system; all integrated in an existing school structures.
Project Implementer: UN Women Cameroon
UN Women partner organisations:
|Far North||Association des Femmes Africaines Intègres pour la Recherche et le Développement (AFAIRD)|
|Northwest||Centre for Advocacy Gender Equality and Action for Development (CAGEAD)|
|Region||Primary schools||Secondary schools|
According to UNESCO (2014), 1 in 10 girls in Sub-Saharan Africa do not attend school during their menstrual cycle, corresponding to 20% of the school time lost in a year. Reports from eBASE suggests this may lead to these girls losing 40 days of schooling per school year. In Cameroon, inadequate knowledge of menstrual hygiene principles in schools and poor maintenance of school sanitation facilities used by girls especially during menstruation have been identified as major challenges to proper menstrual hygiene management (Horizons Femmes, 2014).
Project success will be demonstrated by:
1. 50,000+ community members including families, male students, teachers, local (traditional, religious, and administrative) leaders improve their knowledge of menstruation through MHM literacy programs
2. 255 teachers from 15 schools in 3 regions (Far North, North West, and East Regions) improve their knowledge and skills in MHM
3. 10,000 girls from 15 schools in 3 regions (Far North, North West, and East Regions) benefit from MHM safe spaces
4. 300 girls in 3 regions (Far North, North West, and East Regions) gain leadership skills through MHM school clubs
5. At least 80 community members in 3 regions (Far North, North West, and East Regions) demonstrate acceptability of the MHM safe spaces in schools.
6. Researchers at eBASE are able to integrate MHM intervention as a strand in the eBASE teaching and learning toolkit.
What has the project achieved so far?
- 12 menstrual-friendly safe spaces (toilets) have been constructed, and 3 safe spaces rehabilitated.
- Dignity kits have been distributed to over 7000 female learners in 15 schools with focus on Internally Displaced, orphans, indigenous populations, and learners with extremely challenging economic status.
- Dignity kits have been distributed to over 3000 girls living within the intervention communities.
- Over 1000 boys have been mobilised and engaged in menstrual hygiene management activities within the schools and communities.
- Over 150 teachers have been trained on supporting female learners on proper menstrual hygiene practices in the school milieu
The Menstrual Hygiene Management pilot is evaluated by a consortium of 4 organisations from Cameroon, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Lead evaluator: Association for the Welfare of Women and Indigenous Peoples (ASOWWIP)
Co-evaluator: Centre for the Development of Best Practices in Health (CDBPH).
Advisory Panel members: National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) in the UK and WHO Collaborating Centre for Knowledge Translation, Technology Assessment for Health Equity, Bruyere Research Institute at the University of Ottawa