#WeAreCommitted: Celebrating Menstrual Health Day
Menstrual Hygiene Day is a day we look forward to every year at Surge. This year’s theme – #WeAreCommitted – highlights the work that is being done year-round to break taboos, end the stigma around menstruation, provide menstrual health education, provide access to menstrual products and period-friendly toilets, and more.
This year, we are celebrating Menstrual Health Day by looking at the impact of our signature Menstrual Health Training – which has reached over 16,500 people! Through these trainings, #WeAreCommitted to empowering girls and enabling them to break barriers in Indonesia, Uganda, and Haiti.
Trainings in Indonesia Educate Girls on Menstrual Health and Build Confidence
Our Menstrual Health Training is relatively new to Indonesia, having started in 2021. In the last year, however, we have seen amazing results! After training 1,298 girls, nearly 99% have reported learning something new. Additionally, our trainers assess the girls’ knowledge with a pre- and post-test to measure the knowledge gained in the training. From these tests, we have seen a 53.5% increase in knowledge!
Besides an increase in knowledge, girls in Indonesia have also reported an increase in confidence. Of a subset of 85 girls, 98.8% report an increased feeling of self-worth, 100% now feel they can better manage their menstrual cycle, and 100% are more comfortable to talk about their period to others.
One participant shared that she “learned to stay confident when menstruating, even if there are men around, and to buy sanitary napkins even if boys are in charge of the shop.” Another participant explained that she was now “more confident, because all women menstruate and experience the same thing.”
In an effort to increase the sustainability and impact of our Menstrual Health Trainings, we have also launched pad-making training. By providing girls the basic skills they need to make reusable pads, we are helping to provide a more cost effective way to manage their cycles.
Trainings in Uganda Leave Behind Community Resources
Uganda is where our Menstrual Health Training originated. Since 2017, we have educated more than 11,500 girls on menstrual health and pad-making. Of a subset of 426 girls, 70.9% reported feeling bad or inferior during their period before the training. After the training, 95.8% said they feel more confident, while 98.8% shared that they can now better manage their periods.
I now know that menstruation is a normal change for every girl and have learned how to better manage my periods, cycle, and pain. I am a normal girl and I now feel free to talk about it to other girls in my community. – Menstrual Health Training participant
Better management of periods doesn’t solely depend on the training itself. In addition to the training, we work with communities to construct girls’ latrines at schools. All girls’ latrines include a washing and changing station, hand-washing facilities, and an incinerator for disposable pads. By providing girls with a safe, comfortable space to manage their menstruation, we hope more girls will be able to stay in school and continue their education.
Trainings in Haiti Help Break Taboos
In Haiti, our Menstrual Health Training is delivered to small community groups consisting of both girls and boys. By including boys, we can educate them on how to support the women and girls in their communities.
In addition to breaking taboos, our training covers topics such as body development and menstruation; menstrual hygiene management practices; and sanitation and hygiene practices.
Since 2017, we have educated over 3,600 people in Haiti on menstrual health!
Our accomplishments in our Menstrual Hygiene Trainings would not be possible without the International Monetary Fund and Circle of Sisterhood, who help fund these programs and allow us to continue to reach girls in rural communities. Together with our funders and local partners, we can help create a world where no one is at a disadvantage because they menstruate.