Though the world is slowly moving towards removing the social stigma surrounding menstruation, the word ‘period’ still remains a taboo in most societies. In most countries, girls still avoid going to school when they are on their period. In India, 23 million girls drop out of school early annually when they start menstruating and many of them end up facing acute health problems. Women in rural areas or in poverty-ridden nations still use paper and other harmful materials such as dried leaves, ash and plastic as a substitute for sanitary pads. Globally, more than half of women are currently of reproductive age—and menstruation is a monthly reality. Yet all around the world, many women lack access to menstrual hygiene products or sanitation facilities, either due to limited availability or excessive cost.
Gramalaya has been working in the WASH & MHM sector for more than three decades with national-level presence supported by Government, donors and corporate groups under CSR initiatives. They have successfully demonstrated models in the field of water, sanitation, and hygiene with various demographic conditions covering rural, urban, coastal and tribal areas. The Government of India has approved Gramalaya as one of the National Key Resource Centres (KRC) for providing training and capacity building support to Government Officials and NGOs working in the sector. Gramalaya has promoted more than 6,00,000 individual household toilets in India by closely working with State Governments like Puducherry and SBM of different Districts. By working with SBM program and CSR initiatives, Gramalaya is instrumental in declaring several villages and slums in urban areas as open defecation free zones. During the last six years, Gramalaya has been promoting MHM among adolescent girls studying in schools by promoting reusable cloth pads, girls’ friendly toilet complexes with hand washing station and conducting MHM education sessions in the schools.