Resources by Ritu Project about Menstrual Hygiene for Adolescents
Menstruation, a natural process of the human body, is considered to be a taboo in many parts of Bangladesh. This leads to a lot of harmful practices that can have negative effects on a woman and girl’s health and life. Some of the harmful practices are- preventing menstruating women from eating nutritious food, using old rags to absorb menstrual fluid, preventing the mobility of young girls resulting in school dropouts, and many more. Menstruation and child marriage is interconnected as it is believed that as soon as a girl begins to menstruate, she is ready to marry and bear a child. Therefore, proper knowledge and attitude on menstruation and its management has an enormous effect on a girl’s life and wellbeing.
In order to address the lack of awareness about Menstrual Health Management among these people, a project titled Ritu was developed. This project, funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bangladesh is a joint initiative by Simavi, RedOrange, TNO, BNPS and DORP. It has been implemented in 8 upazilas of Netrokona district. The goal of this project was to ensure improved health and well-being, and social and economic participation of girls in Bangladesh by ensuring menstrual hygiene management.
Teachers and parents play a huge role in empowering young girls and build confidence within them. Misconception and taboos are followed by the elders of the family and community because they themselves were taught and made to believe in them when they were children. Until and unless this chain of misconceptions that is passed down from generation to generation is broken, young girls will always be the ones to face the consequences. In order to break the chain of misconceptions and misinformation, Ritu has conducted half day long school campaigns involving students of both sex and teachers, has provided training and support to teachers to implement a comprehensive Menstrual Health curriculum in classrooms at co-ed schools. Ritu has also initiated parents’ sessions at schools to inspire them to support their daughters for better MHM (Menstrual Hygiene Management) in their homes. Other interventions include working with schools and communities to build improved toilets through a budget tracking process, advocating for inclusion of Menstrual Hygiene in NCTB/Teachers Training Curriculum and many more.
Ritu has also conducted several national level campaigns. Online campaigns include social media campaigns and developing a knowledge based platform/website to make sure that girls, parents, teachers, anyone from the community and practitioners all around Bangladesh can have access to the resources. This will help them spread awareness on menstrual hygiene in their own areas. Another remarkable campaign was the ‘Journalist Fellowship Award’, where certificates were distributed among 90 journalists, and awards to 10 journalists for their contribution to the cause of Menstrual Hygiene with their reports in the media. (See more) Ritu has reached around 19 million people through its social and mass media campaigns.
Throughout the project period, several SBCC (Social and Behaviour Change Communication) and IEC (Information, Education and Communication) materials have been developed which are very informative and effective for not only the adolescent girls but also their teachers and family members. These materials are now in the process of being handed over to the Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP) to ensure that the tools and materials are available to every concerned person or organization. Thus Ritu will be able to contribute in creating an enabling MH environment for the women and girls in Bangladesh.
You can get access to all the materials which are available on the Ritu Online website: https://rituonline.org/