Project Mahampy: Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM)
In rural Madagascar women and girls lack the resources and knowledge to effectively manage their menstruation. With disposable sanitary products unaffordable or unavailable, women use vorotsembo (old fabric) to manage their menstruation. Both limited access to sanitary materials and MHM information has a negative impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of women and girls, reducing their participation in society and lowering rates of attendance for girls in school. Providing women and girls with access to sufficient MHM is central to achieving gender equality and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 6, that strives to establish ‘adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all… paying special attention to the needs of women and girls’ by 2030.
Since 2019, SEED has been working with over 160 mahampy reed weavers as part of Project Mahampy. In January 2021 SEED began a series of training workshops and information sessions to teach the women how to make reusable menstrual hygiene pads and to provide them with access to menstrual health education.
The project was informed by SEED’s response to the Ambinalikely fire. After a fire broke out in Ambinalikely, Fort Dauphin in November 2020, SEED worked with four local female leaders to provide MHM packs to 61 women and girls. Local women designed and purchased material to make 860 pads and distributed 427 pairs of underwear, washing buckets, and soap. Project Mahampy: MHM has taken this learning into the rural community of Sainte Luce, training 10 local women to become sewing trainers who teach members of the Mahampy Weavers’ Cooperative how to make reusable sanitary pads.
Supported by the Project Coordinator and Project Sewing Trainer and Designer, training sessions also provide women with education on MHM to improve their understanding of menstrual hygiene practices. Throughout the project women gain the resources to confidently manage their menstruation and the knowledge to better support themselves and their daughters. This pilot will inform future MHM programmes operating in the south of Madagascar, scheduled to commence in June 2021.
During our training, people are talking more openly about sex and menstruation. It has given the women an opportunity to talk to each other.Ravolasoa Jacqueline, President of the Taratsy Mahavotsy Mpandrary sub-cooperative
- 131 women trained to sew reusable menstrual hygiene pads and provided with MHM education.
- 20 sewing training classes administered.
- 10 women trained as sewing trainers.
- 524 menstrual hygiene pads made.
- High levels of participation and community engagement.
- Increased awareness and understanding of MHM within Sainte Luce.
Australian Direct Aid Programme