Menstruation & Emergencies

Over 26 million girls and women are displaced around the world, many of whom struggle to manage their monthly menstruation safely, comfortably and with dignity.  In many emergency contexts, menstruating girls and women face inadequate access to safe and private WASH facilities, culturally appropriate menstrual materials and supplies and menstrual health and hygiene information. The GATE program supports a range of menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in emergencies projects globally in partnership with humanitarian partners, international agencies and researchers. 

This includes the following three main research and practice initiatives: 

The MHM in Emergencies Toolkit Project:

The MHM in Emergencies toolkit project, led by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Columbia University, was supported by Elhra's Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises. This research project contributed to the evidence available on MHM in emergencies and developed an MHM in emergencies toolkit in partnership with the global humanitarian response community.  The toolkit provides practical guidance and tools for planning, implementing and monitoring MHM programming. English, Arabic and French versions are available below. 

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Menstrual Disposal, Waste Management and Laundering in Emergencies:

This project was a collaboration with the IRC and the global humanitarian response community, with support from USAID’s Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). The project identified new approaches for addressing menstrual disposal, waste management, and laundering challenges in a range of displacement contexts. This led to the development of a guidance compendium, which addresses gaps identified in the MHM in Emergencies Toolkit. The compendium includes practical guidance in addition to a series of case studies highlighting innovations currently being piloted in emergencies globally. 

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Menstruation & Ebola:

This project, funded by the Waterloo Foundation, examined the key MHM considerations required during an Ebola outbreak, including at both the health system and community levels. The qualitative assessment with global experts informed the development of brief guidance note targeting emergency response actors that provides practical insights on incorporating MHM into Ebola outbreak response.   (More information)

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