Taboo Subject in the Spotlight at Annual Water and Health Conference

I hurried into the meeting room, reassuring myself that most participants also had not made the 7 a.m. start time for the session. I was wrong. The room was almost full, and I had a challenging time even finding a seat. On the main screen, a representative of the Philippines Ministry of Health was enthusiastically presenting via videoconference. Throughout her presentation, questions popped up on another large screen submitted by participants listening online.

Water Currents: Emergency WASH

The current cholera crisis in Yemen is just the latest example of the need for practical evidence-based recommendations and updated research on WASH in emergency settings.This issue focuses on case studies, recent research, and innovative approaches to implementing WASH services in emergencies, and includes links to recent publications about water treatment, menstrual hygiene management, container-based sanitation, among other topics. Also featured are links to relevant websites and select WASH news items, including several on the cholera epidemic in Yemen.​ 

Menstrual Hygiene Management Toolkit

Menstrual hygiene management (MHM) is an important component of a “WASH-Friendly School.” As a new concept in schools, the USAID-funded Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene (SPLASH) project and Zambia’s Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (MESVTEE) are offering various kinds of support to teachers to establish MHM programs and facilities to keep girls and female teachers in school.

#MenstruationMatters: Celebrating Menstrual Hygiene Day 2017

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.

Where WASH Saves Lives: Creating New Traditions in Nepal

On her first night of menstruation, and for every night of her period, 15-year-old Roshani Tiruwa was expected to leave the warmth and safety of her family home and sleep in a tiny windowless hut barely large enough to stretch out in. She ate less dinner than usual because, by custom, women are not allowed to eat dairy at this point in their cycle.

Water Currents: Celebrating Menstrual Hygiene Day

Celebrated worldwide on May 28 each year, Menstrual Hygiene Day (MHD) is a global initiative that brings together organizations, individuals, and the media to raise awareness about menstrual hygiene management (MHM). This issue of Water Currents contains information on MHD events, select 2017 and 2016 publications and videos on the topic, links to relevant websites, and news articles.


Preventing the transmission of diarrhea and other waterborne illnesses through the widespread adoption of safe hygiene practices, including handwashing and safe wastewater disposal.

Why Hygiene Matters

Breaking the Taboo: How School WASH Impacts Girls’ Education

The sound of girls singing echoes through the walkways of Kabulonga Girls Secondary School in Lusaka, Zambia. The song is in Nyanja, but the last three words of the chorus are in English. The girls sing: “Water, san’tation and hygiene…” The last syllable of “hygiene” is held through to the refrain.

Outside the classroom, little boys hang on the window bars or sit on the ledges, legs stretched out. They watch the singing with seeming envy. They look, at this moment, like they wish that they too were teenage girls.