We are proud to say that Projet Jeune Leader is the leading expert in menstrual health and hygiene in Madagascar. Our work over the past five years has led us to this point.
When Projet Jeune Leader first started in 2013, one of our main monitoring practices was to keep counseling logs. This allowed us to track the number of counseling sessions students requested with our Youth Educators. However, upon further reflection of these logs, we realized the majority of counseling cases were questions and problems female students had regarding menstruation.
Because of this, we sought the help of the INGO Grow and Know. With their technical assistance, PJL’s team conducted qualitative research with over 200 girls and women on the myths, taboos, and the challenges that girls and women face in regards to menstrual health and hygiene. This research informed the content for a girl’s puberty book - a colorful and youthful guide featuring culturally-appropriate illustrations, stories written by young Malagasy girls, advice columns, and much more.
We went a step further, setting up distribution channels to key stakeholders, youth clubs, youth centers, and public schools across the island to raise awareness of the book and collect feedback.
In our program sites we also standardized a fun, cost-effective, mass public event protocol that could attract hundreds of people in the course of a day to directly engage with our educators about menstrual health and hygiene.
Finally, we trialed and tested re-usable sanitary pad kits with rural adolescent girls, which proved to be a great success.
During this time, we also realized teachers lacked the skills and confidence to teach about menstruation in the classroom, despite the topic being outlined in the national teaching syllabus.
To ensure full and correct utilization of the now-available puberty book, we developed, piloted, and widely implemented a national in-service teacher training on menstrual health management, trained 558 primary school teachers, and successfully advocated to the National Ministry of Education to certify the book as an official teaching tool.
We have accomplished a lot with a small team. Now it is time to enlist the help of others around the island. We are ready share what we have learned, the resources we have created, and the best practices for promoting menstrual health and hygiene among Malagasy girls.
That is why we created the resource website, fadimbolana.info, [meaning "period" in Malagasy] to showcase and share all of our work in one place.
With this website, we aim to help others get started and enthusiastic about menstrual health and hygiene in Madagascar. The resources posted embrace the creative, participatory, and youthful values we champion in our work at Projet Jeune Leader.
Please feel free to share widely, to help promote education and eliminate the stigma surrounding menstruation in Madagascar.
Together, we can take action to show that menstrual health and hygiene matters!
Thank you to AmplifyChange and Segal Family Foundation for making this resource possible.