The time is over for peripheral programming on menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) in WASH. It is now pivotal, particularly given the context of COVID-19 restrictions, which have exacerbated period poverty and decreased availability and access to hygienic facilities, sanitary products and information to support stigma-free safe and dignified menstruation.


The WASH sector has a central role to play in supporting the safe and dignified menstruation management to positively impact the life course of women of all ages and girls worldwide. 

Below, we give you the first look at our newly launched resource along with a selection of others which are a must read to help the WASH sector embed MHH in WASH programming.


“This work is attempting to change entrenched norms and stigmas that are believed and have been promoted at all levels of the community. A one-off training or pad product distribution is not enough.”

World Vision Vanuatu 



Front cover of Learning Brief on MHH and WASH

Pivotal not peripheral: Ending period poverty by prioritising menstrual health and hygiene in WASH

Towards the end of 2020, Water for Women undertook a review of menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) initiatives to collate information from partners working within a broad range of contexts across 14 projects in Asia and the Pacific, and to draw out lessons for good practice in inclusive MHH programming within the WASH sector.

Launched for #MHDay 2021, this Learning Brief is the product of that learning. 

This Learning Brief covers:

  • Why period poverty needs to end
  • The benefits of improved menstrual health and hygiene
  • Why MHH in WASH
  • Periods in a pandemic
  • Water for Women MHH initiatives
  • Key lessons learnt
  • MHH checklist for WASH practitioners

Read now

View page 14 for a list of further reading and useful resources on MHH


Cover page Plan International's Periods in a Pandemic report, one year on

On World Menstrual Hygiene Day in 2020, Plan International Australia released a groundbreaking report that revealed the extent the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted menstrual hygiene management (MHM) for girls, women and gender non-binary persons.

Periods in a Pandemic uncovered how COVID-19 and its secondary impacts have exacerbated period poverty – the struggle many low-income women and girls face while trying to afford menstrual products – and period stigma for people who menstruate, creating challenges such as product shortages, price hikes and heightened shame and stigma right across the globe, from India to Ethiopia.

Troublingly, our new 2021 report finds that the key challenges for people who menstruate have either worsened or stayed the same as they were this time last year. Periods in a Pandemic: One Year On In 2021 looks at how the pandemic has impacted MHM more than a year since it begun by interviewing WASH experts in the countries that Plan International works in.

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Cover page of Improving Menstrual Health: A Toolkit for Community Facilitators in Solomon Islands

This facilitation guide has been developed for use in the Solomon Islands by women and men, and girls and boys, in communities and schools. The activities in the facilitation guide can be used to strengthen already existing knowledge on menstruation practices, as well as introduce new information and cultivate awareness about the fundamentals of good menstrual health. 

In schools, the activities should be used in conjunction with any formal, government- approved curriculum on menstrual health. With support from their schools, families and communities can use the guide to enable women and girls to reach their full potential.

This document was produced through the New Times, New Targets Project, which aims to improve sustainable and inclusive access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services and facilities with schools, clinics and communities in rural Solomon Islands. The project is a Water for Women initiative implemented by Plan International Australia in partnership with Live & Learn Environmental Education on behalf of the Australian Government.

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header image from World Bank resource of two young smiling girls

Menstrual Health and Hygiene Resource Package Tools and Resources for Task Teams

Also launched on #MHDay2021, this resource package from The World Bank has been developed to assist World Bank task teams in ensuring that their projects are inclusive and responsive to the needs of women and girls. The tools included in this package are practical and user-friendly and guide task teams on how to design and monitor effective, inclusive, and sustainable menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) initiatives as part of their water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions. The tools are designed mainly for WASH interventions in schools and health care facilities (HCFs) but can also be adapted for projects in other public spaces, such as markets and public locations with WASH facilities. The tools draw from good practice examples in leading development agencies handbooks, guidelines, and case studies. The resource package is a living document that will be continually updated based on evolving needs and feedback. 

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“If menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) is well managed from the start, it has a surprisingly high potential to contribute to increasing female empowerment at a critical stage of a girls’ life.” 

World Bank Blogs - 28th May, Menstrual health and hygiene empowers women and girls: How to ensure we get it right


A knowledge booklet on menstrual health and hygiene from SNV features a cartoon girl on a yellow background

A knowledge book for menstrual health and hygiene


‘When we talk about menstrual health and hygiene, it is crucial to talk about the additional challenges faced by our women and girls with disabilities so that they are also able to manage their menstruation (or receive support to manage menstruation) in hygienic and dignified ways.’  

Tshering Choden, SNV in Bhutan’s Gender and Social Inclusion Advisor   

In Bhutan, our partner SNV Netherlands Development Organisation is breaking the ‘silence’ for a more inclusive development. Last year, the government’s recognition of menstruation as a primary public health issue emphasises that menstruation is a natural phenomenon and something to take pride in.

This knowledge booklet, titled 'A knowledge book for menstrual health and hygiene,' complements other MHH interventions and knowledge gaps faced by girls and nuns. The booklet contributes to painting a positive picture of the experience of menstruation and to educate the wider public that periods are natural phenomena and something to be proud of.

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Cover page of UNICEF resource

Guidance for monitoring menstrual health and hygiene (version 1)

There has been significant increased attention to MHH in the WASH sector over the past decade, but it has not been accompanied by robust or consistent monitoring. While there is not yet sufficient evidence to recommend a comprehensive set of validated indicators and questions to support MHH monitoring, there are simple steps that can be taken now by governments and programme managers to strengthen monitoring efforts.

The purpose of this guide is to support the development and/or improvement of MHH monitoring, by highlighting basic principles (including ethical considerations) and example questions to monitor the various elements of MHH. The questions and the wider guidance are not intended to be comprehensive or prescriptive; rather, they represent practical suggestions for monitoring MHH, based on sector experiences and the best available information at the time of publication.

This guide was written by Christie Chatterley (Fort Lewis College) with support from Brooke Yamakoshi (UNICEF) and funding provided by UNICEF’s Adolescent Development & Participation Section as part of the multi-sectoral initiative on the Second Decade.

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