Research and Action: the WSSCC/UN Women Joint Programme on Gender, Hygiene and Sanitation in Senegal

Date: 14th July 2017

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This month WSSCC highlights its work in Senegal where, in hand with the government, it improves the sanitation, hygiene and health of disadvantaged people and communities through:

  • A Global Sanitation Fund (GSF)-supported programme-  see last week’s article on the GSF in Senegal
  • The WSSCC/UN Women Joint Programme on Gender, Hygiene and Sanitation
  • Policy advocacy across ministries to include sanitation and hygiene considerations, with attention to the needs of women and girls 

This article highlights some of the evidence generated and actions taken to inform government about sanitation behaviour practices and menstrual hygiene needs.

Studies on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM): Behaviour and Practices in Senegal

The WSSCC/UN Women Joint Programme on Gender, Hygiene and Sanitation has established a database of information on public policies, behaviour and practices with regard to MHM, to assess the impact of MHM practices on women and girls.


Louga Region (2015)

This study presents the findings of focus group discussions and interviews conducted in the Louga region of Senegal in June 2014, in mainly urban and semi urban areas. Findings show that there is a general culture of silence surrounding all aspects of menstruation. The silence is exacerbated by taboos and myths that affect how women and girls manage their menstruation – from personal hygiene to the cleaning and disposal of used materials.

Kédougou Region (2015)

The second study was conducted in the rural and impoverished region of Kédougou in Senegal. Findings show that women are the de facto managers of water, sanitation and hygiene services in the household and the community, yet are generally excluded from decision-making processes and the design, planning and implementation of WASH programmes.

The research also shows that menstruation is a taboo issue. Seen as an impurity or even a disease, menstrual blood is managed in secret.

Click here to download the studies and the briefing note in English and French

Sharing the data:  Senegal Policy Workshop (June 2016)

The research was put to use during a three-day workshop held in partnership with the Government of Senegal in Dakar, aiming to inform, promote and lead the Senegal and other governments to explicitly include MHM in their public policies.

Read more about the workshop here

Field mission in Senegal to document sanitation programmes (December 2016)

Massiré Karé, the WSSCC/UN Women programme’s hygiene, sanitation and social engineering consultant, led a field mission to various regions to assess the conditions and maintenance of sanitation infrastructures. Data was collected to develop proposals for a better integration of MHM into sanitation projects. Technical and practical solutions were proposed for inclusion in new policy and existing manuals.

Read more on the mission and its findings here

©WSSCC Javier Acebal

Menstrual Waste Management Workshop (December 2016)

The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development in Senegal hosted a technical workshop to tackle the issue of menstrual waste management at both household and health facility level, to highlight examples of positive action and propose recommendations.  The lack of adequate sanitation and waste systems, alongside the increasing use of disposable sanitary products, presents a considerable challenge for sustainable waste management across Africa.

Read more about the workshop here

For more information about the WSSCC/UN Women Joint Programme on Gender, Hygiene and Sanitation in West and Central Africa download the programme’s Best Practices (2016) report.

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