Breaking Down Barriers: Empowering Girls through Menstrual Health Education in Bangladesh

“Shampa Malakar experienced menstruation for the first time when she was in the eighth grade. Although the onset of menstruation is a natural process for adolescent girls’, Shampa was previously unaware of the phenomenon, and sprinted to her frightened mother, in a desperate attempt to find some much-needed comfort.

However, the onset of menstruation means a new phase and new vulnerabilities in the lives of adolescents. And poverty, discriminatory social norms, and lack of access to basic services such as toilets and sanitary products, among other challenges, can cause menstrual health and hygiene needs to go unmet. Therefore, it was not easy for Shampa to manage her menstrual cycle in a dignified, healthy way. Thankfully, she learned about the presence of the Livelihoods Improvement of Urban Poor Communities Project (LIUPCP) in her community through a local social worker, which supported her with clean and safe menstrual hygiene products. In addition, Shampa also learned about menstrual health and hygiene interventions, dietary advice, reproductive health, and confidence building, through community sessions conducted by the LIUPCP.

Through her personal experience, Shampa aspired to improve information sharing among other young adolescents in the community, and became a bold advocate of menstrual health, whilst also hosting community engagements and open conversations, overcoming social taboos. As a result, Shampa has further inspired many other girls in the community who now feel more confident about managing their menstrual cycle in a healthy and diagnosed manner.

The Livelihoods Improvement of Urban Poor Communities (LIUPC) Project which is jointly implemented by the UNDP, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and the Government of Bangladesh, has achieved transformational changes in the women’s empowerment process, amidst other successes , across 19 cities in Bangladesh.”

Find out how the Livelihoods Improvement of Urban Poor Communities Project is creating a brighter future for adolescent girls in Bangladesh.

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