Schools in Papua New Guinea Take Action on Menstrual Hygiene

Live & Learn PNG staff at menstrual hygiene promotion event

COVID-19 has brought attention to many of the issues that women and girls face managing their periods around the world. This includes affordability and accessibility of menstrual hygiene products, highlighting that periods don’t stop for pandemics.  A lack of education on menstrual hygiene can cause stigma and taboos to persist and undermine educational opportunities for girls around the world. This year’s menstrual hygiene promotion activities have been held in reflection of these circumstances, with the theme ‘It’s Time for Action.’

To raise awareness and change negative attitudes surrounding menstrual hygiene Live & Learn PNG worked with student WASH Clubs from seven schools in and around Kavieng, New Ireland. Students from each participating school got involved in a number of activities, which were inspired from Live & Learn’s Arts for Advocacy Guide. This included poetry readings, a flash mob, mime, debates, quests and performances by a choir and string band. A catwalk fashion show was also held where female students wore sashes with key messages on menstrual hygiene to promote awareness.

Live & Learn staff created a display and spoke about the different samples of disposable pads sold in New Ireland. Special guests included representatives from local government, education authorities, the Catholic Church, Live & Learn board members, and the deputy Town Mayor. NBC Radio New Ireland personal were there to record the whole program, which was broadcast to local communities.

In support of the celebration, other community elders and school stakeholders took time to comment on the event, saying that it was something new and very educational for everybody. They appreciated Live & Learn’s water, sanitation and hygiene programme and hope that the work in schools and communities continues. Millions of women and girls around the world are kept from reaching their full potential due to inadequate resources and education on menstrual hygiene management. Menstrual Hygiene promotion is a positive way to learn and support women and girls so that they can manage their periods hygienically and with dignity.