Busting period taboos, improving menstrual health and hygiene for young girls

The project aims at empowering adolescent girls living in urban spaces and ethnic minority communities in remote rural areas so that they can confidently and comfortably manage their period, making informed sexual and reproductive health decisions.

At the lauching ceremony. Source: baodansinh.vn

On the morning of April 2, the project "Vietnamese Girl Leadership on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM)" was officially launched in Hanoi.

The project is co-operated and implemented by the Vietnam Women's Union and Plan International Vietnam, and funded by Kimberly-clark, Kotex brand.

In Vietnam, adolescent youth coming of age are a large and growing segment of society, comprising nearly 18 percent of the total population. In lower secondary schools, where adolescent girls (ages 10-19 years old) are experiencing menstruation for the first time, menstrual health management (MHM) and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education has not been officially introduced into the curriculum and teachers are largely untrained in the subject in Vietnam. As result, one third of adolescent youth in Vietnam lack access to essential information on MHM and SRH. Adolescent girls are at greater risk for unwanted pregnancies, transmission of sexually transmitted diseases and infections of the reproductive tract.

Uninformed boys may show insensitivity to the challenges girls face in managing menstruation, thereby further contributing to misconceptions, stigma, and unhealthy behaviors. However, access to accurate information and materials addressing the stigmas surrounding menstrual hygiene and SRH can empower boys and men to challenge stigma and convince them of the need to be engaged to promote good MHM and SRH practices.

The project goal is to make favorable conditions for adolescent girls, living in urban spaces and ethnic minority communities in remote rural areas, to confidently and comfortably manage their period. As well as make informed sexual reproductive health decisions and become active leaders of change in MHM and broader adolescent health.

The 'Vietnamese girl leadership on menstrual hygiene management' project is funded by Kimberly Clark Corporation, Kotex brand through Plan International Vietnam with the main partner be the Vietnam Women's Union.

The project will focus on four key interrelated and reinforcing strategies: EMPOWER GIRL, MOBILIZE SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY, STRENGTHEN SUPPLY AND PRACTICE, ADVOCATE SOCIAL AND POLICY ENVIRONMENT.

More specifically, the project will build girls’ knowledge and skills on MHM, SRHR and gender equality collaboratively by equipping them to be Leaders of Change (LOCs) in their schools.

School teachers and managers, parents and community leaders will be identified and trained on MHM. With improved knowledge and awareness, they will provide girls with support to practice their MHM changes in community and schools.

It will also help girls express MHM needs by amplifying their voices through media campaigns.

The project activities will be deployed in Quang Binh province (Minh Hoa District and Dong Hoi City) and Hanoi (Ba Vi District and some selected secondary and high schools) over three years from 2020 to 2023. It aims to directly benefit 27.880 young people in 40 primary schools and secondary schools, mother and daughter club in the community in Hanoi and Quang Binh.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Nguyen, an 11th-grade student in Hanoi shared: “I am currently participating in social project activities on gender education, so I think the project is very interesting and practical. I hope the project can support more female students like me in the future”./.

(vietnamtimes.org.vn)