Keeping Girls in School through Menstrual Hygiene Management

Delivering menstrual hygiene management training to over 650 refugee teachers and refugee adolescent girls.

Location: Tanzania

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  Tanzania hosts one of the largest refugee populations in Africa with 252,000 refugees living there. The recent influx of Burundian refugees following contested elections in 2015 has strained the country’s already limited resources - refugee camps have become overstretched and underfunded.   © Plan International

Tanzania hosts one of the largest refugee populations in Africa with 252,000 refugees living there. The recent influx of Burundian refugees following contested elections in 2015 has strained the country’s already limited resources - refugee camps have become overstretched and underfunded.

© Plan International

Lack of adequate, gender-sensitive sanitary facilities at schools and low knowledge of menstrual hygiene management are barriers to refugee girls’ participation in school. Throughout community assessments, Plan International found that Burundian refugee adolescent girls in Tanzania have limited knowledge and resources for meeting their menstrual hygiene management needs, which prevents a large percentage of adolescent girl refugees from going to school.

In response, Plan International delivered menstrual hygiene management training to over 650 refugee teachers and refugee adolescent girls and is working with IRC to train Education Officers to directly deliver future trainings and ensure follow-up monitoring to measure impact. Plan International also distributed sanitary items, including underwear, sanitary pads, and soap to participants.

A survey of nearly 70% of refugee girls enrolled in secondary school who completed the training showed that the training directly increased their retention and led to a decrease in dropout rates. 100% of refugee girl survey respondents were still in school at the time of the survey, and 97% of these respondents reported that the menstrual hygiene management training directly prevented them from dropping out. 85% of respondents reported that they had additional needs, particularly sanitary supplies.

Next steps will evaluate and explore how to ensure that the need for sanitary supplies is sustainably funded, how to ensure longer-term trainings and support, and how to address a stated need from adolescent boys in the community regarding hygiene kits relevant to their needs.

For more information please contact Leslie Archambeault, Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Manager, Leslie.Archambeault@plan-international.org