Problem Addressed

There are 87.5 million adolescent girls in India who currently attend school. According to AC Nielsen, as many as 23% of these girls are at risk of dropping out after reaching puberty. One reason for this alarming statistic is the significant difficulty faced by girls in managing menstruation at school. Along with an inadequate supply of sanitary menstrual products, the schools these girls attend have severe gaps in their physical infrastructure, teaching and social environment. Due to lack of knowledge, support and resources to manage menstruation in schools, girls suffer in their attendance, concentration and class participation. Eventually, many girls drop out of school altogether.

As menstrual hygiene management (MHM) is largely ignored in society, few people raise their voices or mobilize people and resources to make facilities such as schools menstruation-friendly. The few individuals and private and public institutions that realize the problem and want to improve conditions do not know of the tangible and impactful actions they can take to sustainability improve the menstrual friendliness of schools. The Menstrual Friendly School Program is meant to solve this problem.

Innovative Approach

The Azadi approach is innovative in its consolidation and unification of partners, ‘360 degree’ approach, data collection and analysis, and ability to work across sectors. This programs goes to the center of how to change the experiences of MHM for girls in schools by generating collaboration among stakeholders.

Program Solution

Azadi’s Menstrual Friendly Schools Program is an initiative to address the needs of the adolescent girl’s menstrual hygiene management (MHM) through educating various stakeholders including adolescent boys and girls, teachers and support staff about MHM. It intends to investigate, understand and enable the societal, environmental, interpersonal, personal and biological factors that aid girls in adequately managing menstruation in school. It has been implemented within 20 schools identified with support from UNICEF in Lucknow, in the Balrampur District of Uttar Pradesh.

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