Breaking the Taboo of Menstruation

In Nepal, menstrual hygiene education can play a life-changing role. It is a prioritized subject in every WASH oriented programs of ECCA and this year’s World Menstrual Hygiene Day proved to be extra special.

Here’s how one of our ECCA counselors Yaji Sharma shares her account of Menstrual Hygiene Day celebration-

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ECCA counselor Yaji with students during the documentary show

On early morning, our team of ECCA moved to Udaya Kharka Higher Secondary School located at Chapagaun around 22 km north from Bajra Barahi Mandir. Our main purpose was to access menstrual hygiene knowledge, attitudes and practices of school girls and to prompt healthy atmosphere in the school. As we started documentary show followed by discussion program among 55 students and additional teachers, we found that the students lacked sufficient knowledge and behavioral practice on menstrual hygiene. There was equal hesitation to interact freely about menstruation.

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But few stood out. Sadiksha Chaudhary, another ECCA counselor writes about her discovery of 15 years old Sabina-

New lease on Life

“Yes, Menstrual Hygiene Awareness is something that has given me a new lease on life. I was totally anonymous about health risk of poor menstrual hygiene management but now, I can break my silence and build awareness among others.” Sabina, a grade nine student of Kittine Higher Secondary School and president of school’s Nature Club shared in an excited voice.

Sabina’s curiosity towards MHM had attracted everyone in awareness session. She seemed to be more active than other students. and frequently requested everyone to listen attentively. She says she used to use sanitary pads for more than 6 hours, sometimes, a whole day. She used to hide her sanitary clothes so that no one could see it. Sometimes, she even used to leave school. She also says now she is aware about infections that might occur to due to poor menstrual hygiene management.

“I am now more attentive towards MHM and also looking forward to inform my family, friends and relatives about it”, said Ms. Shrestha. “Thank you ECCA and ECCA counselors for all the help”, she added.

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Menstrual hygiene program at ECCA for schools from southern Lalitpur 

Infact, ECCA will continue to help schools understand and make requisite arrangements so that girls need not skip school due to menstruation or drop out completely. (A research grant has been announced on the topic “WASH and Girl Friendly Toilet: Social and Technical aspects in the context of Nepal” targeting young and enthusiastic researchers) Besides this, schools can play a very important role by providing exclusive focus on menstrual hygiene while developing school’s health education curriculum. Improving toilet and water facilities is an obvious solution but teachers and parents also carry a responsibility to guide girls correctly on safe menstrual practice.

 

 

 

 

Empowering Youths for Sustainable Development Practice

With reference to sustainable school improvement strategy, ECCA (Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness) conducted 3 days long Youth Training Program on Project Initiative from March 2- 4, 2016. The program was specially designed for the project; ‘Preparing School Stakeholders for Re-development and Improving Health and Sanitation of Schools’ (with funding partner action medeor e.V.) to be implemented in 4 schools of Jhule VDC in Dolakha. The program held a primary objective of introducing sustainability fundamentals as well as crucial issues on school environment, WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and First-Aid. 20 enthusiastic individuals took part in the program.

People, process and perspective are three main points of visioning. I especially liked the idea of exploring state of mind through meditation and drawing. I found this approach much different and effective.”- Aruna Puri, ECCA counselor

I never knew this much about mechanism of school and its system. Over the three days, my thinking has changed.” – Bipin Karki, participant

Changes can be brought about by youths in the most efficient form. Our mission is to train young members of the society through experts then mobilize them to make significant changes in the community”, says Yogendra Chitrakar, Executive Director of ECCA.

Capable trainees will now be mobilized in Jhule for future programs.

Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA) has been a leading organization in the sector of social mobilization and community development. ECCA works closely with youths and school children to encourage positive change and to develop innovative ideas so as to make a brighter and greener future for generations to come.

-Upama Tamla (Rai), Media Associate, ECCA