Menstrual Hygiene Day 2023: Making the most normal thing finally normal – not just today

#WeAreCommitted! That’s this year’s appeal on the occasion of Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28! Sanitation for Millions takes this motto at its word and is committed to breaking down socio-cultural barriers and improving access to safe sanitation and menstrual hygiene management practices for people in its partner countries!   

Every day, more than 300 million women and girls menstruate worldwide. Many of them live in countries where the issues of menstrual hygiene and menstrual health are not openly discussed. Instead, myths and misconceptions circulate that further stigmatize menstruation and exclude menstruating individuals from their daily activities, such as going to work, going to school, or attending religious services. On Menstrual Hygiene Day, we want to draw attention to these challenges around the world! Awareness must be raised and knowledge on safe menstrual hygiene management must be shared among women and girls, but also men and boys. Menstruation must no longer be a shameful topic but should be openly discussed as what it is: the most normal thing in the world! 

On the occasion of Menstrual Hygiene Day, various campaigns and activities are organized in the partner countries of Sanitation for Millions. These will help raise awareness and talk openly about the issues of menstrual hygiene and health.  

The project team in Uganda is organizing a whole series of awareness and education activities! On May 25, there will be a “MHM Walk” in Anaka Town in the northern part of the country. The theme of the walk is “Walking in commitment to ending period poverty and making menstruation a normal fact of life by 2030”. The aim is to sensitize the local population to the issues of menstrual hygiene and health. This will be followed by a public “MHM advocacy” event. This involves not only Sanitation for Millions, but also other local stakeholders such as the local government, participating schools, women’s groups, and religious institutions. All of them will share their activities on menstrual hygiene. In keeping with the theme #WeAreCommitted, the common bond will be symbolized by wearing menstruation bracelets! 

In order to set an example and raise awareness among our own staff, the teams of Uganda and Pakistan joint forces to organize an online information workshop on activities related to the topic of menstrual hygiene. In this workshop, the employees of both country offices will be informed about the respective activities and the high importance of the topic of menstrual hygiene will be emphasized once again. 

The team in Pakistan will be part of an event organized by the MHM secretariat Balochistan in the city of Quetta. There will be a panel discussion on Menstrual Hygiene Management and various activities of partner organizations, such as WaterAid and UNICEF. They are also commemorating MH Day in Peshawar in collaboration with WatSan Cell, a coordination hub for partners working in the WASH sector. 

In Jordan, the country team will begin conducting menstrual hygiene management workshops in early June. This will allow menstruating people to receive active and targeted education on menstrual hygiene and health practices. 

In cooperation with the GIZ project PREVEC the team in Colombia organizes a workshop on menstrual hygiene management for female waste pickers and their daughters. Important topics in the field of menstrual hygiene management will be addressed. These include dispelling myths and misconceptions about behaviour that is supposedly harmful during menstruation. Women and girls will be trained in safe and hygienic menstrual management and encouraged to talk openly about potential problems and fears. This is to ensure a safe and hygienic approach and to normalize the topic in society.  

It is not only in external events that the topic of menstrual hygiene management is brought into sharper focus. Within GIZ in Colombia, there will be an online workshop for GIZ employees. This workshop will serve to address the “taboo topic” more openly and provide a platform for an exchange of experiences. In addition, the online event will be used as an opportunity to present the new menstrual hygiene equipment, which will be made available on a trial basis in the toilets of the GIZ country offices in Bogotá in the upcoming months.