WASHPaLS’ Menstrual Hygiene in the Workplace Global Results Dissemination Webinar

WASHPaLS’ Menstrual Hygiene in the Workplace  Global Results Dissemination Webinar
Employee smiles after receiving a menstrual wellness bag during the MHM in the Workplace activity launch at one of two workplaces in Kenya. Photo credit: Inua Dada Foundation

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January 19, 2022, 8:30 - 10:30 a.m. ET

All over the world, people who menstruate experience challenges managing their periods, especially those who live and work in environments that do not support adequate menstrual hygiene management (MHM), a subset of USAID’s holistic approach towards menstrual health and hygiene. These challenges may have critical implications for working women’s health and general well-being, as well as for economic outcomes such as work attendance, performance, advancement, and earnings.

To better understand the relationship between menstruation and women’s opportunities for economic empowerment and growth, USAID’s Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment requested the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Partnerships and Learning for Sustainability (WASHPaLS) project to undertake action research to assess the benefits and costs of improved MHM in the workplace, both for women workers and the enterprises that employ them.

The resulting MHM in the Workplace action research makes an important contribution to the body of knowledge on how to improve and measure MHM in the workplace, with a focus on gender-related sanitation outcomes and barriers that affect women’s ability to enter or remain in the workforce, including gendered social norms around menstruation and MHM.  In an effort to quantify the social costs and benefits of MHM, the research demonstrates that there is a business case for implementing MHM programs in the workplace.

In this Global Dissemination Webinar, speakers will discuss  outcomes of this action research:

  • Research design and key outcomes from the MHM in the Workplace interventions in Nepal and Kenya
  •  An innovative Cost Benefit Analysis study demonstrating the business case for workplace MHM
  • Metrics development and indicators field testing of key MHM in the workplace metrics

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Adriana Hayes, USAID/Nepal Acting Mission Director, joined USAID/Nepal in July 2018. Ms. Hayes previously served as Acting Deputy Mission Director and Acting Mission Director for two years in Rwanda where she was assigned as the Director of the USAID/Rwanda Program Office (2014-2018). She was the Deputy Director of the South American Affairs Office in USAID/Washington (2011-2014). She also worked with USAID in Afghanistan (2010-2011), Bangladesh (2007-2010), Namibia (2005-2007), and Washington (2004-2005). Prior to joining USAID as a Foreign Service Officer in 2004, Ms. Hayes led the country office in Peru for Innovations for Poverty Action, a non-profit organization that specializes in evaluating and collecting evidence on effective development interventions. She also worked as a health analyst for the California state government on Medicaid and health insurance programs for vulnerable populations. Ms. Hayes received a master’s degree in Public Affairs from Princeton University and a B.A. in Economics and International Relations from Occidental College. She enjoys mountain and road biking, as well as camping, reading and baking. She is joined in Nepal by her husband and daughter.   

Jamille Bigio serves as the Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, the Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Gender Equality, and the Director of the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Hub. Prior to joining USAID, Ms. Bigio served as a senior fellow on Women and Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she researched, lectured, and published widely on the relationship between gender equality, national security, and global prosperity. She previously served as the director for human rights and gender on the White House National Security Council (NSC) staff and as the NSC representative on the White House Council on Women and Girls. At the State Department, Ms. Bigio served as senior advisor on national security and on sub-Saharan Africa to the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues and was detailed to the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and to the U.S. Mission to the African Union. Ms. Bigio led the interagency launch of the U.S. government’s first National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security, an effort for which she was recognized with the U.S. Department of State Superior Honor Award and the U.S. Department of Defense Secretary of Defense Honor Award. She also worked at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in New York, Ethiopia, and Iraq (based in Jordan), and at the grassroots level for public health non-governmental organizations. Ms. Bigio is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School and the University of Maryland.

Michal Avni is a public health and gender expert with over 25 years of experience in designing, implementing, and advocating for programs and research to promote gender equality and reproductive rights, both in the US and overseas. She has worked with community health centers, in hospital-based research, and with international donor agencies. In these capacities, she has demonstrated ability to set strategic direction with diverse stakeholders, provide thought leadership, and facilitate change through effective communication. She has technical expertise in public health and development, including reproductive health and maternal and child health, women’s empowerment, mitigation of gender-based violence, and engagement of men and boys. In her role as Senior Director of Programs at Iris Group, Michal currently serves as activity manager for a multi-country action research program on Menstrual Hygiene Management in the Workplace, and she supports a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded project on Gender Mainstreaming among leading donor organizations. She also serves as part of the leadership at Iris Group.

Dr. Aditi Krishna is the Director of Research at Iris Group. She is a social epidemiologist with expertise in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), maternal and child health, nutrition, child development, family planning, and reproductive and sexual health. She provides key technical services on WASH through a USAID-funded project to improve WASH programming by identifying, sharing and guiding the use of best practices for the delivery of WASH services and sustained behavior. For this project, Aditi provides technical support for a menstrual hygiene management in the workplace action research initiative, advising on the research components of the activity. Aditi also leads and supports evidence reviews including one on menstrual hygiene management in the workplace and women’s economic empowerment as well as on gender transformative adolescent health and maternal and child health interventions. In her role as Director of Research, Aditi also provides support to Iris Group staff in designing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating research activities. 

Dr. Jake Eaton is Senior Associate at Iris Group with extensive experience in both qualitative and quantitative research, as well as system dynamics. He has worked to pilot Iris Group's System Approaches to Social Inclusion (SASI) methodology in Jordan, led an evaluation of a social norms intervention in Tanzania, and provided technical assistance on a variety of WASH projects. He has supported multiple evidence reviews in areas of maternal and child health, gender-transformative interventions, and workplace MHM. Currently, he coordinates data collection and leads a political economy analysis of workplace MHM as part of a multi-sited USAID-funded WASH project. He also supports Iris Group's business development, coordinating project proposals across a variety of sectors including WASH, agriculture, and infrastructure.

Dr. Bethany Caruso is an Assistant Professor in the Hubert Department of Global Health at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. She is a social and behavioral scientist with over a decade of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sectoral research experience in low and middle income settings. She employs mixed methods approaches to understand how compromised WASH conditions impact physical and mental health, behavior, education, and empowerment, with a specific focus on girls and women throughout their life course. Dr. Caruso is also interested in how water and sanitation environments can impact the practices and behaviors that women perform because of their sex or are expected to perform because of their gender—including menstrual hygiene, child and infant feeding, and the safe disposal of child feces—and how these behaviors and practices may impact varied health outcomes.

Lisa Schechtman is the Senior Policy and Partnerships Advisor in USAID’s Center for Water Security, Sanitation and Hygiene, focusing on partnerships, external engagement, and a range of policy and strategy issues in support of the Agency’s Water for the World initiative. She also serves as the Agency’s representative to the Steering Committee of the global multi-stakeholder Sanitation and Water for All Partnership. Previously, Lisa spent eight years as the Director of Policy and Advocacy at WaterAid , where she served as a primary liaison between Congress and the U.S. Administration on legislative matters, and chaired the NGO coalition that advocated for the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act, which passed Congress unanimously in 2014. Prior to WaterAid, Lisa served in a range of policy, advocacy, campaigning, and technical support roles in the global health and women’s human rights spaces, including roles with the Global AIDS Alliance, Population Action International (PAI), UNAIDS, and Amnesty International. She also served for three years on the Developed Country NGO Delegation to the Board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Lisa holds a B.A. in English Literature and French Language from Northwestern University, and an M.A. in International Human Rights and Global Health Affairs from the University of Denver.

Beverly Mademba serves as a WASH Specialist with the WASH team in the Office of Economic Growth & Integration (OEGI) in USAID KEA, which she joined mid 2021. A practising public health professional in Kenya, Beverly is a passionate Menstrual Health champion. She has contributed to the evolution of the menstrual health and hygiene landscape in the country, having contributed to the development of the first national MHM policy & strategy, to the development of multiple technical guidelines for MHM programming, to designing of effective MHM interventions, leading and engaging in multiple advocacy issues on MHM including for the development of standards for re-usable menstrual products and for inclusive MHM programming and serving also as one of the national master trainers. Beverly represents the WASH team as a member of the national hygiene promotion Technical Working Group, where Kenya’s national MHM agenda is coordinated. She holds a BSC in Public Health from Moi University, Kenya with an IMPH (underway) at Hebrew University, Braun School of Public Health, Israel. Beverly’s perfect day? A good book over coffee (black) or a good hike (nature is food for her soul)

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