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Attitudes towards menstruation, and inadequate hygiene facilities, are having a detrimental impact on girls’ ability to make important decisions about their sexual health and well-being.

A menstrual hygiene management club meeting taking place at a school in Uganda
A menstrual hygiene management club meeting taking place at a school in Uganda.

For 2 billion women and girls worldwide, menstruation is a monthly reality. Yet in many low-income countries, they still face serious challenges when it comes to managing their periods.

According to a study from UNICEF, 1 in 3 girls in South Asia knew nothing about menstruation prior to having their first period.

How are girls affected?

Menstruation can affect all aspects of a girl's life

BREAKING DOWN TABOOS

Girls singing songs about menstrual hygiene management to encourage open discussions
Girls singing songs about menstrual hygiene to encourage open discussions on the topic.

Plan International is committed to addressing the social beliefs and stigmas surrounding menstruation. Together with local governments and schools we are training district health workers, teachers and volunteers. We also distribute menstrual hygiene materials in schools and teach girls how to manage their periods so they feel confident and stay in school.

In Uganda, we have partnered with local social enterprise AFRIpads to help girls and women improve their menstrual hygiene management. AFRIpads trains women to manufacture reusable sanitary pads. We then purchase the pads and sell them to local vendors at a subsidised rate. This allows vendors to sell pads for an affordable price and still make a profit. Maureen, 16, is back in school full-time since using AFRIpads and says, “All the girls come to school every day and our grades are better.”

By breaking down stigmas and supporting girls' menstrual hygiene management, we are helping them stay in school and decide their futures free from discrimination.

Join the Because I am a Girl movement for girls’ rights