Hygiene refers to behaviors that can improve cleanliness and lead to good health. USAID works alongside partner countries to reach poor and underserved populations with hygiene behavior change campaigns that generate lasting results, aiming to improve hygiene facilities in educational and health care institutions and increase handwashing with soap at critical times, among other objectives.
Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day), May 28, is an annual global event to raise awareness about the challenges women and girls face due to menstruation and to highlight solutions that address these challenges. MH Day also provides a platform to advocate for making menstrual hygiene management (MHM) a part of local, national, and global policies, as well as programs, projects, and activities across global development sectors. MH Day is organized by WASH United, which has run the event since its inception in 2013.
More than half of women globally are of reproductive age, yet many lack access to menstrual hygiene products or sanitation facilities. Myths and stigmas surrounding menstruation cause some women and girls to miss school or work or go into isolation.
USAID recognizes menstrual hygiene management (MHM) as a vital part of the health and dignity of women and girls and provides support to implementing partners to address needs in this area. This resource page contains MHM-related research, reports, and stories featuring the work of USAID and its partners.
The 8th Annual Virtual Conference on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in Schools provides an opportunity to share the latest research and programming from around the world. The virtual conference is expected to bring together online over 1,000 participants from around the world.
On Tuesday July 16, 2019, join organizers Columbia University and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) for a webinar on the Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergencies Toolkit. The webinar will take place from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm EST.
Discussion topics will include:
USAID recognizes that lack of access to safe sanitation facilities and sufficient water and supplies for hygiene, including for menstrual hygiene, disproportionately affect women and girls. As part of the the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2019, USAID was required by Congress to include a report on its current sanitation and hygiene programs address these issues, including ensuring the availability of feminine hygiene products.
The Virtual Conference on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in Schools provides an opportunity to hear the latest research and programming on menstrual health and hygiene from around the world. The conference enables the global sharing of new ideas and essons learned, and connects people working on MHM in schools in a wide range of countries.
In some remote parts of Ghana, girls are told that crossing a river during their menstrual period will offend the river deity — so some skip school to avoid incurring the deity’s wrath. In some rural communities in western Nepal, menstruating women are told that their presence jeopardizes crops, water supply, and health — so they go into quarantine each month. In Afghanistan, some women are told that showering during menstruation causes infertility — so they spend their entire cycle without washing themselves.