Championing MHH in Cambodia's communes

School children are gathered around a poster , they are doing MHM group work facilitated by Ms Chantrea

School children gathered together to do group work on menstrual health and hygiene, facilitated by their teacher, Ms Chantrea (Thrive Networks / East Meets West / Kim Hor)


Today, it's important lessons in menstrual health management (MHM) for these students at a school in rural Reab commune, in Prey Veng province, Cambodia, where integrated training on safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and MHM practices are empowering women and girls to safely manage their menstruation and participate fully in daily life, while also promoting good health and hygiene for the whole community.


Supported by Australia, for the past three years Thrive Networks / East Meets West has been collaborating with the Commune Committee for Women and Children (CCWC) to deliver specialised training for women and girls in seven villages across Reab commune. 


The CCWC is a Cambodian government agency focused on women and children’s rights that was established in 2004 as part of the decentralisation and deconcentration process as an advisory body to the Commune Council. In Reab commune, CCWC representative Ms Kong Chantrea has been leading the charge.


Through the training sessions, three key messages have been consistently promoted:

  1. Practice handwashing with soap at critical times, such as before preparing and eating food and after using the toilet
  2. Drink safe water from clean sources, and
  3. Use the latrine to go to the toilet.


Delivered as part of Thrive Networks / East Meets West Water for Women project, Women-led Output Based Aid, by the end of 2022, 166 women and 100 girls aged between 13 and 35 years living in Reab commune had participated in the training. Many have since reported that they now attend the health centre for any menstrual health issues they experience.


From poverty reduction and stronger economies to healthier populations and better educational outcomes, the benefits of investing in Menstrual Health and Hygiene are far-reaching.


Ms Kong Chantrea says that training programs related to community development are important for her communities, which need outside support. With increased knowledge about the importance of MHM and WASH among the community and key stakeholders, the local systems underpinning their delivery in Reab commune have now also been strengthened. Ms Kong Chantrea says she is confident in mobilising commune funds for continued WASH and MHM training going forward, now that she has the support of the commune council chief, first deputy chief, second deputy chief and other members who recognise the value and importance.


As she continues this important work, Ms Kong Chantrea also has her sights set on becoming a full member of the commune council at the next election, so that she can further pursue the needs of women and children in Reab.


Women-led Output Based Aid was one of 20 Water for Women WASH projects implemented by civil society organisation partners from 2018 to 2022 during the initial phase of the Fund. 




To celebrate #MHDay2023, we have launched our latest publication

WASH in Schools: Insights from Water for Women


A thumbnail cover on blue background and the words 'Just launched!'

Making menstruation a normal part of life is creating a world where no woman, girl or person is held back because they menstruate.

From poverty reduction and stronger economies to healthier populations and better educational outcomes, the benefits of investing in Menstrual Health and Hygiene (MHH) are far-reaching.

On Menstrual Hygiene Day - 28th May - and every day, we are committed to #PeriodAction.

Together with our partners, we are working to ensure sustainable MHH solutions through water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects across the Asia Pacific region. We are transforming WASH systems to empower women, girls and gender diverse people, including those with disabilities, by shifting stigma and harmful norms, and strengthening access to menstrual hygiene-friendly sanitation services and products—so that periods can be managed safely and with dignity.


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