#MenstruationMatters: Celebrating Menstrual Hygiene Day 2017

Though outlawed in Nepal for more than a decade, chhaupadi is still being practiced in remote villages in far western Nepal, but even there attitudes are starting to change. Photo credit: USAID/Nepal

Let’s talk about menstruation. Only one out of two girls in India and one out of every four girls in Tanzania and Ethiopia knows about menstruation before the start of their first cycle. For this reason, education is this year’s theme for Menstrual Hygiene Day, taking place May 28.

Menstrual Hygiene Day provides a global platform for individuals and organizations to come together to raise awareness about the many challenges women and girls face regarding menstruation, and learn how to properly address these challenges. Recognizing that women are disproportionately affected by insufficient education and inadequate WASH services, USAID continues to incorporate menstrual hygiene management (MHM) into the Agency’s WASH programming, through interventions such as the the Safe-WASH II Project and Swachh Bharat (Clean India). In the latest issue of Global Waters, you can read about how Safe-WASH II is working to transform the practice of chhaupadi—an ancient system of taboos surrounding menstruating women that was outlawed a decade ago in Nepal.

USAID has teamed up with WASH United and more than 400 partner organizations for Menstrual Hygiene Day to advance education and fight stigma, so that women and girls all over the world can manage their menstruation with normalcy and dignity. With more open conversations about menstrual hygiene, we can move beyond celebrating a single day and help create a more supportive environment for women and girls all year round.

If you are interested in learning more about Menstrual Hygiene Day and upcoming celebratory events, click here. Or have a look at the latest issue of USAID's Water Currents newsletter, featuring the latest reports, news, and videos on menstrual hygiene health.

We also welcome your thoughts on MHM, and want to hear how you are observing Menstrual Hygiene Day! Please share your story and help spread awareness of MHM by using the hashtags #MenstruationMatters and #MHMDay. Or make it personal and upload a photo of yourself with your message about how menstrual hygiene affects your life—and tag us @USAIDWater so we can make sure your message reaches the world!