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Water & Sanitation
Papua New Guinea
Through improved education and facilities in schools in Papua New Guinea, adolescent girls are being supported with menstrual hygiene education and improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities at school, which have become girl-friendly. Girls now have the information and facilities to manage their periods and seek appropriate care for their reproductive needs as well as improved, accessible and menstrual health friendly water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities.
Additionally, WaterAid is contributing to address harmful social norms and rigid taboos at community level, providing menstrual hygiene management and sexual reproductive health education and services to ensure women, girls and their families are equipped with the knowledge and information to seek the health services they require. Through awareness-raising and education in schools, adolescent girls have increased their understanding and knowledge of how to manage their periods within the school environment.
The project is also undertaking a range of activities to identify the menstrual health needs and experiences of adolescents, including adolescents with disabilities. Furthermore, the project has implemented a range of activities to address the barriers to inclusion and increase opportunities for participation for those most excluded. WaterAid and its partner Marie Stopes International have also trained providers and community educators on disability-inclusive sexual reproductive health education and service provision to strengthen their ability to deliver appropriate and accessible services for people with disabilities.
WaterAid is supporting the Department of Education to expand curriculum on menstrual health, which teachers can use to support girls and boys in school to access information and education on menstrual hygiene. The strength of this growing relationship has been seen through 2 schools reaching out to WaterAid after the Department of Education shared the teacher training tools with them.
Wateraid also promoted a roundtable on creating a community of practice around Menstrual Health. This was attended by a diverse group of stakeholders including representatives from the Department of Education, Pacific Women, the Digicel Foundations, UNICEF and many others. The event was highly engaging and the discussion and ideas are being used to inform a PNG Menstrual Health community of practice to be led by the Department of Education with the support of other government departments and WaterAid.
WaterAid has also established a partnership with a secondary school, GabaGaba, and a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Department of Education to improve menstrual hygiene facilities and education/information. WaterAid’s GabaGaba baseline found that the existing facilities do not meet the needs of girls during while they had their periods, therefore WaterAid designed menstrual hygiene management-friendly school WASH facilities, in consultation with girls in school. The construction started in late 2018, a period not covered by this report.