Menstrual Hygiene Day – talking about WASH in Schools

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Today is global Menstrual Hygiene Day. In Solomon Islands the Live & Learn WPSMIP team marked Menstrual Hygiene Day with discussions at a local high school, where girls and boys discussed their perspectives on the challenges facing girls at their school. Sophie Suia, from Live & Learn Solomon Islands, shares that girls felt they struggled with:

  • No showers or change rooms at school
  • No access to pads, waste buckets or soap to keep clean
  • It’s hard to have your period at school when the water is off
  • Lack of awareness about good menstrual hygiene

In marking global Menstrual Hygiene Day, the girls hoped that boys and male teachers would have a greater respect for female health, and be more understanding about providing access to sanitary products.

In Fiji, PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, the WPSMIP teams are working with schools to advocate for better hygiene access by students, and safer, secure toilets for girls at school. At the recent WASH Futures Conference 2016 held in Brisbane Iva Koroisamanuna and Rob Hughes from Live & Learn co-facilitated a workshop on WASH in Schools. In the video below Rob and Iva share their reflection on the workshop discussions, and discuss different approaches to bottleneck analysis as a tool for WASH in schools programs. In a future blog post we will explore the bottleneck analysis approach further.

Rob Hughes : Iva and myself helped co-facilitate a session on WASH in Schools. We did that with UNICEF Pacific, GIZ and our partners at International Water Centre. It was essentially on using the Bottleneck Analysis approach, as well to help identify the limitations in school systems leading to WASH outcomes and how we can work to address those.

Iva: I presented on the Vanuatu case studies and the approaches that we used to engage partners, mostly how do we use bottle neck analysis to identify key WASH issues at the school level. I think that the approach that we use was mostly the bottom-up approach, rather than the usual top-down approach adopted by UNICEF, so it was interesting to find out how other partners see how we use the bottleneck analysis approach in individual schools, rather than as a national approach.

Also, one of the key points of discussion around the table was the ownership of WASH. There is no clear definition on the roles and responsibilities of who should take ownership of WASH, whether it should be the Ministry of Education or the Ministry of Health or the Department of Water. So using the Bottleneck Analysis will promote partnership amongst the different key stakeholders, not only with government level, but also with NGOs. Having these clear roles and responsibilities in place will assist the development partners when they implement Wash in Schools – they will know who they should involve in the responsibility and sustainability of WASH in schools programs

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