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Responding appropriately to women’s menstrual hygiene needs in emergencies is an essential component of water, sanitation and hygiene promotion programmes. It can help to address:

  • gender equality in considering the different needs of women and men;
  • women’s participation in the sensitive dialogue that is necessary to address this issue; and
  • women’s specific concerns with dignity and privacy.

Unfortunately, not enough attention has been paid to menstrual hygiene in many WASH or girls’ education programmes. But whenever women’s menstrual needs are not met, women are faced with numerous difficulties. Each month they have to cope with several days of reduced mobility, shame, physical discomfort, disruption of essential daily activities, as well as health risks.

This paper explains the key considerations of this topic and offers practical advice.

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