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Breaking the Silence on Menstruation: Findings from a Study on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in Eritrean Middle Schools

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There is an increasing global recognition that school-aged girls face challenges in sufficiently managing their menstrual hygiene, which affects their educational attainment and psychosocial well-being. There is limited information on the challenges that girls face in relation to menstruation in Eritrea or the impacts that cultural beliefs and practices have on girls’ ability to manage their menstruation while in school. The Eritrean Ministry of Education undertook this research in collaboration with UNICEF’s global WASH in Schools for Girls (WinS4Girls) project, and with funding from the Government of Canada, to better understand the unique situation that girls’ face in Eritrea.

Key recommendations to emerge from the report include, amongst others, the need for:

  • Expanding formal lessons on menstruation in middle schools to start from 6th grade (ages 12-14).
  • Improving school sanitation facilities so that they are sex-segregated, private, clean, and contain essential supplies including water, soap, and waste receptacles.
  • Creating support systems in schools including provision of financially and culturally appropriate MHM supplies for use in urgent situations and designation of a focal support person.
  • Outreach to mothers and fathers to increase their knowledge.
  • Increasing capacity of teachers and school management.
Date: 24 May 2018