International conventions and action plans elaborate on women’s sexual and reproductive rights but stop short of explicitly naming menstruation. WSSCC is taking a leading role to break the silence around Menstrual Hygiene Management through its work, including a special seminar organized on the 8th March 2013.

The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC)  hosted their first High-Level meeting on International Women’s Day to share current directions in global research, policy and practice on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM).

The event took place 8 March 2013 at the United Nations Palais in Geneva, Switzerland.

Menstrual Hygiene remains a taboo subject, biologically centre stage but neglected in adolescent girls and women’s health, education and quality of life. Even traditionally infrastructure focused sectors such as water and sanitation, used to dealing with unmentionables such as excreta and shit, ignore the gender dimensions of managing safe and hygienic disposal of menstrual blood, materials used to absorb it and the safe spaces to do so. 

For more information, contact Emily Deschaine at For more about Menstrual Hygiene Management, visit WSSCC's topic page here. For more about International Women's Day 2013, visit here.

Provisional Programme  


 Welcome Coffee/Tea and Registration


Setting the Scene

Opening Remarks: Chris Williams, Executive Director, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council


 Where Are We Today? A stock take of policy and research initiatives on menstrual hygiene (facilitated panel discussion) 

Chair: Robert Bos, Former Coordinator, Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Health, World Health Organization (WHO)

Bethany Caruso, Research Project Coordinator, Emory University: MHM in Schools and Catherine Dolan, Lecturer, Oxford University: Double X  Economy, menstruation, education and reproductive health in Ghana and Uganda

Chandra-Mouli Venkatraman, World Health Organization (WHO): Menstrual Hygiene and Health

Archana Patkar, Programme Manager, WSSCC: Menstrual Hygiene and WASH

10.30-11.00 Coffee/Tea break

 Reality Check: Lessons from implementing current research, policy and practice (facilitated panel discussion)

Chair: Mr. Gib Bulloch, Executive Director, Accenture Development Partnerships

Audrey Kettaneh, Programme Specialist for HIV and Health Education, UNESCO and Faiza Lahlou, Procter and Gamble (P&G): Menstrual Hygiene and Education

Jennifer Schappert, Business for Society (BSR) and International Labor Organization (ILO): Menstrual Hygiene and the Workplace

Vivian Hoffmann, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland: Menstrual Hygiene and Disposal

12.00-13.00 Exploring collaboration, synergies in practice and programming across sectors (roundtable discussion)
13.00-14.00 Lunch and Marketplace

Tools, approaches, materials on addressing women’s and girl’s rights and needs linked to MHM

(AfriPads, BSR, Columbia University, Goonj, International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene (IFH), Procter and Gamble, UNESCO, UNICEF, WaterAid, WSSCC)


Photo credit:© Sonja Och, WASH United 

Last updated: Thu, 04/04/2013 - 15:59