The vital needs of women and girls, including menstrual health, are often overlooked at times of crisis and economic hardship across the globe, while the education of girls is more likely to be deprioritized than that of boys. Added to this, a third of schools lack decent toilets, meaning many girls miss classes during their periods.
WaterAid is calling for menstrual health to be recognized as critical for gender equality, so no one is held back because of this natural process.
This year, WaterAid Nepal collaborated with Mister and Miss Supranational Nepal 2022, as a Social Impact Partner, to take the conversations on Periods forward. Mister and Miss Supranational Nepal is an international beauty pageant, being held in Nepal for the first time. All 20 contestants (10 male + 10 female) are given a task to make a video on Menstrual Health and Hygiene and post it in their social media handles. One male and one female contestant will be chosen as the “Social Impact Influencer” based on their videos and the winning video will be showcased in the main event which will be held on the 29th May 2022.
Ahead of Menstrual Hygiene Day, we had this opportunity to host the talented and wonderful contestants of the Mister and Miss Supranational Nepal 2022 for an interaction program on Menstrual Health and Hygiene on WaterAid Nepal premises. We had a panel of experts who spoke about how we can normalize Periods. The interaction program was held on WAN premises and will be aired on national television on MH Day- 28th of May.
At the beginning of the year, WaterAid conducted a participatory video workshop in Lahan Municipality in Siraha district, where 10 adolescent students (6 boys and 4 girls) from the secondary school in ward number 24 participated. The students were given technical training on camera handling, was given insights on the interview techniques, storyboard preparation, log sheet maintenance and preparing the concept on video editing. After 3 rounds of workshops from Sep 2021- Jan 2022, the students were able to produce 3 films on WASH issues.
The participatory video process is empowering as it enables communities to take action to solve their own problems by communicating their needs and ideas to local stakeholders/government or decision-makers. The participatory video has no fixed way or rule to be done other than that the ownership lies with the community or group itself. In other words, they are the producers and directors of their own films and the practitioner simply facilitates the process.
The film is scripted, directed, shot and produced by the students of a Secondary school from Lahan Municipality, Siraha district as a result of the participatory video workshop conducted by WaterAid Nepal.
WaterAid is committed to working in schools and communities globally to ensure people have practical information on menstrual health and hygiene as well as access to decent toilet facilities and safe, affordable products including guidance on how to make their own reusable materials and how to use menstrual materials safely. WaterAid also campaigns on an international scale to break down the stigma surrounding periods and ensure menstrual health is included in policies, programs, and related budgets so people get the support they need.
So, this Period Day, please help keep the conversation about periods going and join the call for menstrual health to be recognized as critical for gender equality, so no one is held back because of this natural process.
Shivani Chemjong is the communications and campaigns lead at WaterAid Nepal.