For many young women the world over, menstruation is an unwelcome addition to the gender inequalities they already face. In communities across Tanzania, taboos and stigma around menstruation can have serious effects on their health, education and dignity. Menstruating women and girls are often prevented from doing normal activities such as entering their own home or kitchen, carrying babies or picking vegetables. For many young women and girls, these prevailing attitudes, together with a lack of positive hygiene practices, mean that many of them will avoid going to school during their periods and fall behind.
The Menstrual Hygiene Management for Her (MHM4her) project is managed by Dorcas Aid International Tanzania (DAIT) in Handeni district, Tanga Region. Here it is estimated that female students can miss up to seven school days every month because of their periods. With support from HDIF, the programme aims to increase the number of young women and girls practising healthier menstrual hygiene management (MHM) behaviour by 50 per cent, reduce school absenteeism by 50 per cent, and the incidence of water and sanitation-related diseases by 30 per cent.