Breaking down taboos around Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in Indonesia


By Silvia Devina, WASH & Early Childhood Development Advisor, Plan International Indonesia


Plan International Indonesia (PII) has recently conducted a study on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in collaboration with the SMERU Research Institute (SMERU).

The study was conducted in elementary and junior high school students in three provinces (DKI Jakarta, Nusa Tenggara Barat, and Nusa Tenggara Timur – the latter two being the location of Plan International’s Water for Women project).

Findings from the study, indicated that:

  • 33% of schools do not have separate toilets for girls and boys
  • 39% of school girls have been bullied by their friends about menstruation.
  • 63% of parents never explained menstruation to their daughters before their first menstruation.
  • 45% of parents said that there was no need to explain menstruation to their sons because it is inappropriate, they are still small, and they will find out themselves when they are adults.

Due to schools not meeting the sanitation and MHM needs of girls’ during menstruation, 55% of girls in junior high school and 25% of girls in elementary school reported that the biggest impact of having their period was losing concentration in class. Other impacts were reported to be girls leaving school early for the day (19% in junior high school and 5% in elementary school) and being absent from school entirely (3% in junior high school and 7% in elementary high school).


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