Menstruation is commonly known as “Chhau” in Far-western Region of Nepal which requires women to leave their house and live in small huts (chhau goth) — which are suffocating and shabby, most of the times — during their periods. The practice of chhaupadi restricts women and girls’ access to safe rest, nutritious food, the use of sanitation and hygiene facilities during the menstrual period. Girls, for the most part, accept these restrictions, but the extent to which they abide by them varies.
The multi-indicator cluster survey report 2014 shows the highest prevalence of chhaupadi in mid-western mountains with the figure of 71.2% followed by 15.5% in far-western hills, 15.1% in far-western mountains, 9.9% in far-western Terai and 3.1% in mid-western Terai. 81.6% of community schools in Nepal have toilet facilities. The schools that have separate toilet facilities for girls is 69%. The average toilet student ratio is 1:68; whereas the average toilets and girls’ student ratio is 1:107. (Source: Department of Education)
In 2012, Good Neighbors International (GNI) Nepal conducted a baseline in schools in Kailali and Bardiya districts. In 2013, GNI Nepal conducted a feasibility study in Doti District and in 2017, piloted a two-year Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) project in the same district, which is located in the Far-Western Region of Nepal where ‘Chhaupadi’ is a common tradition followed during menstruation. With a focus of improving menstrual hygiene status of school-going adolescent girls, the project carried out activities that were focused on teachers, parents, traditional healers, local leaders, health personnel, female community health volunteers (FCHVs) and adolescents to create a safe and sound, and supportive environment at schools, homes, and communities.
The Project’s interventions were school-centered and focused on promoting basic MHM friendly infrastructure and service in schools such as the construction of MHM friendly toilets, availability of running water, rest/sick rooms and MHM kits. The Project provided basic training on pad-making and organized awareness-raising events targeting adolescents, schools, and communities. The project directly benefitted 1050 school adolescents, health workers and female community health volunteers (FCHVs).
Based on the learning and results, GNI Nepal extended MHM interventions in Kaski, Myagdi, Parbat, Kathmandu, and Lalitpur districts for the year 2019 and will implement a full-fledged MHM project at thirty schools in Bardiya, Bajura and Darchula districts (ten schools each).
Improved menstrual hygiene behavior of school adolescents.
- To increase awareness of proper hygiene and sanitation practices among adolescent students
- To increase the capacity of schools to effectively manage and sustain menstrual hygiene practices
- To raise awareness of and receive support from community leaders to minimize chhaupadi