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The Joint Programme on Gender, Hygiene and Sanitation in Niger has made considerable progress in in promoting sanitation and hygiene for women and girls
Two workshops were held in December 2016 and February 2017 on the integration of menstrual hygiene in national policies and strategies. In his opening statement, the Minister of Water and Sanitation of Niger, His Excellency Barmou Salifou, said it was time to break the silence on the importance of good menstrual hygiene and commit to work in favour of integration (of MHM) in public policies.
High-level officials from various ministries (water and sanitation, health, education, environment) took part in activities led by the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, which was chosen by the participants to play a leading role in mobilizing decision makers on MHM. Improving cooperation The growing number of actors for MHM must work out how to cooperate more effectively. During the two workshops, participants agreed to work with elected officials, including those outside Niamey (in regions, departments and towns) and to involve the network of elected female officials in the implementation of MHM activities.
The growing number of actors for MHM must work out how to cooperate more effectively. During the two workshops, participants agreed to work with elected officials, including those outside Niamey (in regions, departments and towns) and to involve the network of elected female officials in the implementation of MHM activities.
They also decided to set up an intersectoral platform to exchange information and created a joint working group from various sectoral ministries to compile an information sheet and promote menstrual hygiene, in order to help integrate MHM in public policies. The number of MHM labs and information sites on menstrual hygiene is increasing. Tents were set up in various regions and communities, as well as in refugee camps. These MHM labs helped raised awareness of the issue. There is huge demand for more information and adequate facilities.
Last May in Dosso, Niger, five ministers and sixty young men and women spent several hours in the MHM lab on International Women’s Day receiving basic information on menstrual hygiene.
Community leaders were also trained: 144 in the Maradi region, and some 200 others are expected to be trained. New information tools should also be available soon including an awareness caravan which will specifically target men, reports on menstrual hygiene and a documentary on the subject.
Actors in the MHM movement reflected on the adaptation of infrastructure to enable good menstrual hygiene. The management of infrastructure is also being considered, including such as: Which business model should be used? Can a model management contract be drawn up? Do neighbouring countries have models that Niger could copy?
Although key work is still to be done to formalize this initiative, the movement for menstrual hygiene is well underway.