Why are these numbers important today?




1.8 billion

2.3 billion


28th is today, Menstrual Hygiene Day. 28 is also the number of days for an average menstrual cycle. 

5 is the fifth month of the year, May - and 5 is the average number of bleeding days each month. 

1.8 billion – the estimated number of menstruating women, girls and gender non-binary people in the world.

2.3 billion – the number of people in the world who lack access to basic sanitation.


Periods don’t stop in Pandemics: menstrual health in the time of COVID-19 

Continue reading our #MHDay insights from Joanna Mott, GSI Advisor to Water for Women


Even without a pandemic to contend with, managing one’s period is a heavy burden on many of the hundreds of millions of people who menstruate on any given day. And COVID-19 has made this burden far heavier.

While periods don’t stop in a pandemic, there is an increased risk that the already limited resources to support menstrual health do stop.

  • Access to WASH facilities becomes more difficult for many, because of self-isolation and lockdown.
  • Access to affordable menstrual hygiene materials becomes more difficult, because of shortages due to stock-outs, panic buying, price surges, disruptions in the supply chain or increased family financial stress.
  • Taboo and stigma may increase because of disruption in the usual information and awareness channels (e.g. funding diverted from women’s health services, school closures).

Supported by the Australian Government, many of our Water for Women partners are actively working to make sure that access to these vital resources: WASH facilities, menstrual hygiene products and information, DO NOT STOP during a pandemic.

Periods don’t stop, so why should these?



Happy cartoon figure of a girl dressed in traditional clothing jumping for joy!

SNV Bhutan continue to build momentum around their Red Dot Campaign.

Empowerment… dignity… solidarity… hope… love and care – five qualities that, similar to periods, are here to stay.

Pandemic or no pandemic, the SNV team in Bhutan is continuing its annual partnership with government and non-government partners to reinforce calls for inclusive development this Menstrual Hygiene Day (MHD 2020).

And, with partners, celebrate huge menstrual health and hygiene breakthroughs in Bhutan.

In an incredible achievement, one week before MHD 2020, the Honourable Health Minister of Bhutan, Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo, announced that sanitary pads are now part of the country’s essential commodity list.

‘Towards ensuring that primary public health issues are addressed, even during COVID-19 pandemic, we have ensured, upon the command of his Majesty the King, that sanitary pads are included in the essential commodity list and (shall) be available at all times to come.' said the Minister

Continuing the successful Red Dot campaign

In this beautiful video, Bhutan's diverse peoples make a unified statement in support of Menstrual Health and Hygiene through the launch of the Red Dobchu menstrual hygiene bracelet: a 28-beaded bracelet representing a woman's normal cycle, with five red beads signifying empowerment, dignity, solidarity, hope, love and care.

This video was developed by the Government of Bhutan with support from SNV, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Australian Government, Water for Women and UNICEF in Bhutan.

Read more

Illustrated group of girls including one in a wheelchair discussing periods

Launched today!

SNV Bhutan have been busy with another exciting development today with the launch of their knowledge booklet developed for Girls and Nuns on menstrual health management.

The main objective of the booklet, prepared with beautiful and inclusive illustrations, is to complement other interventions developed to address the Menstrual Health and Hygiene knowledge gaps that girls and nuns face. It also aims to prepare them for a
positive experience during menstruation and more so to educate the wider public that period is a natural phenomenon and something to be proud of.

We will share the link to the full resource when it is available.

View now

Teachers and students learn about periods

Headmaster Mr Matia is a proud Menstrual Health Champion in Solomon Islands!

Plan International and Live & Learn Environmental Education is working with Solomon Islands Ministry of Education, school principals, teachers and students to improve knowledge about menstrual hygiene and is improving access to WASH facilities for girls and teachers to manage their menstruation hygienically and with dignity. 

In one particular school in West Guadalcanal, the story began on Global Menstrual Hygiene Day (MH Day), 28th May, 2019.

Since that day, the Headmaster, Mr Matia has become an enthusiastic advocate for MHM, prompted by the candid discussions and jovial atmosphere of a drama performance which highlighted the fundamental importance of enabling girls to manage their menstruation with pride. 

"I want to be the male champion for MHM for my school and I look forward to see all teachers in my school to be fully across MHM and to become strong MHM advocators. I also want my school to become a role model for other schools in how we support our girls and MHM" 

Mr Matia

Girls and boys at the school are also enjoying learning more and feeling comfortable discussing menstrual health.

All along I was taught that it was tambu [taboo] to talk about ‘girl’s sick’, but now that I know more about it, I will make sure that I will also spread the same message to my uncles and other male relatives so that they are also aware of it”.

 Male student at school

Read the full story



Report cover - periods in Pandemics

Plan International have also released a global report for World MHM day today

Periods in a pandemic – menstrual hygiene management in the time of COVID-19

Key findings from the report include: 

Have you observed the following as a result of COVID-19?



Restricted access to products, through shortages or disrupted supply chains


Restricted access to facilities to help change, clean and dispose of sanitary products


An increase in price of products


Lack of access to information and services


Reduced access to clean water to manage periods


A less hygienic environment for disposal of products


Increased stigma, shaming or harmful cultural practices




Group sitting down listening to MHM education session

After a study in Cambodia found approximately 41% girls miss class due to their periods.

Cambodia is pro-actively engaging in menstrual health and hygiene management (MHH). The Ministry of Education approved the MHH/puberty book for all public schools and puberty books for boys on menstruation.

What started out in October 2018 by our partner Thrive Networks as sessions to promote hygienic sanitation under the Water for Women WOBA project, has grown considerably. Menstrual health and hygiene sessions that began in a few villages now target some 72 villages in two provinces.

To date, 23 trained commune council facilitators have conducted sessions with 3,400 women, girls and men!

Read more


Fact sheet on MHM and Disability findings

World Vision has released a key findings fact sheet from their Water, Women and Disability study  for MHD2020. 

The study found that in SANMA and TORBA Provinces in Vanuatu harmful menstrual beliefs were still prevalent in communities, leading to women internalising these beliefs and often isolating themselves during menstruation.

Women reported feeling responsible for collecting their own water for bathing and washing their products and using separate latrines and bathing facilities during menstruation. These beliefs had negative implications for women with disabilities, given the attitudinal and physical barriers to WASH they frequently experience.

This research has been a huge undertaking as part of World Vision's Water for Women project 'Laetem Dak Kona' in collaboration with research partners, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. 

View the findings

Celebrating MHDay
Period straight talk
No more silence MH day promotion

The Pacific Menstrual Health Network - Raising Voices on Menstrual Health

WaterAid along with women’s groups, gender equality activists and social enterprise are bringing their voices together and establishing the Pacific Menstrual Health Network. The formation of the Network is being led by local civil society, social enterprise and small business in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and Samoa. 

It is exciting to this network form and develop tailored inclusive messaging and campaigns for women's health in the Pacific as seen above and on social media today.

Across the Pacific, adolescent girls, women and gender diverse people who menstruate experience fear, shame and discrimination, as well as practical challenges like lack of menstrual products, water and sanitation infrastructure or health services to managing menstruation. 

You can learn more about this exciting network over on WaterAid's blog

Read more

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