Today is World Menstrual Hygiene Day. A day to recognise period poverty and the stigma that girls, women and non-binary people face. Achieving menstrual health and hygiene requires access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene facilities and services, as well as access to appropriate sanitary products, and relevant information about self-care and the menstrual cycle. It also requires a respectful environment that is free from stigma – and allows girls, women, and gender non-binary people the freedom to participate in all aspects of life, no matter what time of the month.
In partnership with DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) and Water for Women, Habitat for Humanity Australia and Habitat for Humanity Fiji are working on improving WASH services in Fiji. To improve school attendance, improve wellbeing, and ensure dignity while menstruating, Habitat Fiji is empowering teachers and strengthening the curriculum to demystify menstruation and educate the students on the importance of hygiene, so girls and women feel supported by their communities.
Along with engaging communities in the necessity of menstrual hygiene, Habitat Fiji has been improving sanitation facilities in the schools, including the construction of menstrual hygiene management facilities.
5 ways women and girls benefit from improved menstrual health and hygiene:
- For adults, being able to consistently go to work to earn an income for themselves and their families
- For youths, going to and staying at school to get a decent education
- Improved physical health with a reduced risk of urinary or reproductive organ infections
- Freedom to participate in community events and recreation activities
- Greater self-confidence and freedom in their day-to-day lives.
A world without period poverty and stigma is possible if we all work together to end it.