All posts tagged: wash

MHD

The Cycle of Life: Meaning of Menstruation for the Future of Girls

This post was originally published on Huffington Post. My periods started when I was around 12. It felt messy, dirty, complicated. I didn’t like it — but, as most of us who are born biologically female, I dealt with it. For me, menstruation was a necessary evil — but nothing I couldn’t handle. It was certainly not something that had the power or potential to entirely alter the course of my life and future. But for millions of girls across the developing countries, the story is very different. For them, the start of menstruation can mean the end of education, and therefore, the end of any real future prospects of economic independence, earning potential and financial security. In most developing countries, girls have little if any access to reliable information and education about their bodies, including menstruation, and many myths and taboos exist around menstruation and its meaning. For example, in India and Nepal, girls and women are often banished outside of their villages and communities during their menstruation because they are seen as “impure” …

Amina Kombat (left) and Rahama Ishawa in front of latrines built by WaterAid with funding from HSBC Malta on 10 November 2015 at a senior high school in the Northern Region of Ghana.

Breaking the Taboo: Ending Stigma Around Menstruation

This post was written for Girls’ Globe by Vivian Onano It is very exciting to be speaking this week at the Women Deliver event in Copenhagen. The conference is the place to be for concrete discussion and examination of the rights of women and girls around the world and covers a host of topics from education, health and gender rights, to legal rights, land rights, and FGM. Each topic presents an opportunity for change but, for me, one of this year’s standout issues is getting schools and local governments to consider how girls manage their periods. It can be an uncomfortable subject, but it’s a crucial one for measuring progress in girls’ education and rights. Staggeringly, over 1 billion women and girls do not have access to safe and clean toilets to go to at all, let alone when they’re on their period. This means girls often go into bushes or hidden places when it’s dark to relieve themselves or change their sanitary wear, violating their dignity and privacy and often putting them at risk of …

WaterAid

Finding Perspective on World Water Day

Post Written by Jennifer Iacovelli Three weeks after I realized my marriage was ending, I traveled to Nicaragua with WaterAid on an insight trip representing Mom Bloggers for Social Good. We visited the most remote areas of the country to see the work that WaterAid was doing with communities lacking clean water access and basic sanitation. It was a life-changing experience that allowed me to gain a tremendous amount of perspective. I met women and teens who were trained by WaterAid to build wells and toilets for their communities. These were women whose husbands were typically away during the week working in the city, and teen girls who missed a tremendous amount of school, if they went at all, because of their household responsibilities. Fetching water from the river took up valuable time that they could have used to work or go to school. The training allowed them to not only gain valuable skills and earn money, but it also empowered them to become leaders in their community. A few of the women even got …

Water.org

Water Gives New Life to a Slum in Bangladesh

Post Written by Moree Scofield, Community Manager, Water.org For women, children and communities around the world, water gives life. In Bangladesh, the water crisis affects both rural and urban areas, and is a matter of both water scarcity and water quality. While Bangladesh has made commendable progress in supplying safe water to its people, gross disparity in coverage still exists across the country. The poor from the rural areas continue to migrate to the urban areas with the hope of being able to earn larger wages to support their families. Many of these people find shelter in Dhaka’s slum communities. These squatter communities are the most densely populated areas in the country. The enormous quantity of people living in such close quarters causes people living in these slums to have very poor health, compounded by the fact that water connections and toilets are scarce. Most people in these slums live on less than US $2 a day, and many live on less than US $1 a day. Acute poverty, overcrowding, poor housing, and unhealthy disposal …

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SDG 14: Healthy Oceans, Healthy Women

By Samantha Murray Our vast, global ocean is a constant reminder of humankind’s fragility and impermanence. A moment at the mercy of a crashing wave demands respect for nature’s strength. A glimpse of a 40-foot humpback whale makes us feel impossibly small on our big, blue planet. And an encounter with a white shark takes us to another time, long before humans began to upset the Earth’s natural processes. Our shared ocean also provides countless services that we each enjoy every day. It captures massive amounts of carbon. It offers a much-needed source of protein, especially in coastal developing countries. And in some cases, it even ensures access to clean and consistent drinking water. But the marine environment as we know it is changing. The ocean is getting warmer and more acidic. Our seas are rising. Coral reefs are dying and other important habitats have been destroyed. Our ocean is filled with plastic and some areas are too polluted for wildlife to thrive. The big fish are gone and we’re now working harder to fish the small ones. In …

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Menstrual Health: There’s an App for That

Women’s options for birth control have become increasingly more diverse since it’s creation.  NaturalCycles, a Swedish company, is capitalizing on this momentum and providing women a revolutionary contraception option: the smartphone. NaturalCycles’ mobile app uses an algorithm based on a woman’s daily body temperature to determine her fertility level. There are no surgical procedures, daily pills or chemicals. Instead, the app user is getting to know her body and its natural cycles and can make educated decisions based on the data provided. The only requirement is for the woman to take her temperature each morning and based on this data, the app uses a calendar to mark the days that a woman is most fertile.  She can then make an educated sexual decision based on her fertility and desire to conceive.  This calendar empowers women to understand their bodies without the continued cost, burden and side effects of hormonal contraception. To support the technology, NaturalCycles is also contributing to general sexual education with this strong resource for information about the menstrual cycle, irregular cycles, fertility indicators and …

Creative Commons

Soap Saves Lives

This week, Girls’ Globe joined nearly 90 other influential organizations in signing a letter to the United Nations that calls for hygiene to be addressed as an indicator in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The initiative, jointly led by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW), comes at a pivotal moment before the forthcoming SDGs are finalized. PPPHW is an organization that works across sectors, borders and oceans to promote handwashing with soap, among other hygiene practices, and supports and encourages individuals worldwide to learn more about the importance of hygiene.  PPPHW serves as a catalyst in the global handwashing conversation and has a robust resource center on all topics, including menstruation, child health and hygiene in schools. I recently spoke with Hanna Woodburn, Acting Secretariat Director at PPPHW on the importance of hygiene and its impact on women and girls. Why did PPPHW join with other organizations to write the letter? We co-wrote this letter with others in the water, sanitation, and hygiene, commonly referred to as “WASH” sector because we believe that all three components …

Human Rights

Why Plan UK is Shouting Loud and Proud about Menstruation

Written for Irise by Cathy Stephen – WASH Advisor at Plan UK. How many nicknames do you know for a women’s time of the month? Here are a few that come to mind: Aunt Flo On the Rag I’m at a Red Light Surfing the Crimson Tide Checked into Red Roof Inn I’m having the painters in tomorrow Riding the cotton pony Curse of Dracula Leak Week My Dot On the blob Miss Scarlett has returned to Tara Smoking a lady cigar Monthly Oil Change Few people want to talk directly about the topic of menstruation. It’s labelled as a topic for schools to deal with or for women (quietly, behind closed doors please) to talk about. Try asking a man in your office or home about it and they will most likely find it uncomfortable and awkward. Women and adolescent girls around the world spend about 3,500 days of their life menstruating, but it remains a taboo topic in their lives. Since it is experienced and managed by girls and women, it often has a quieter voice and a …

Irise Photo 1_opt

Breaking the Silence

Written by Amelia Savell-Boss I have been volunteering with Friends of Irise since 2013 and it only occurred to me after a few months of campaigning, fundraising and educating that I was talking about issues I no longer had to deal with. I am a ‘non-menstruator’ thanks to my Progesterone Only Pill (POP) which is an oral contraceptive. I have been taking the pill for about 4 years. One of the most common side effects is it stops your period. A terrifying concept at first as my initial thoughts being, ‘where does it all go?’ ‘If I stop taking it will I have the world’s most massive period?’ I cannot claim to understand the science of it all but I must admit that I am hugely thankful that it stopped what I considered to be a painful, arduous and at times very inconvenient process. I had my first period at a neighbour’s house, I thought I felt something funny down below and ran to the bathroom to check it out. I secretly hoped it might be …

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Periods Change Lives: Broken Dreams

An Original Poem Written by Akello Charlotte – Makere University A s a young girl My dream was to study hard Get a bright future Grow into a big girl. I worked hard in school Nothing seemed to deter me The future seemed so bright. Great job Great house Great car And of course children. It wasn’t until one day, Seated in class I find blood on my cloth I rush to the toilet. No water to clean myself. I use papers to try and stop the blood I can’t go back to class The blood is so scary Could it be that am sick? Or a bad omen? Or a disease? Am caught up in a dilemma? No one cares Everyone runs away from me Laughing at me No one to hold my hand. I rush home Too confused to tell anyone Mother suggests I stay home It seems the best to do I suffer in silence. So I use rugs The pain is much I stay in bed Am I cursed? I miss school I …