Using the videoWe are sure that you are waiting to see the video and download it!But, before it is downloaded and used, we strongly recommendthat the following guidelines be read and kept in mind, so that thesessions you intend to conduct can be more effective.Clearly, this is not the only way of imparting awareness onMenstrual Hygiene effectively. However, in our experience we havefound that the following methods work quite well.
DisclaimerThe contents of this video andpresentation should not be substituted asmedical advise for problems related tomenstruation.
Target group – Adolescent girls primarily fromgovernment schools in rural and urban locationsacross the state of Karnataka, India
OBJECTIVES:1. To address common myths and misconceptions regardingmenstruation2. To enable adolescent girls to overcome inhibitions to talkabout menstruation and seek help when required3. To impart awareness on maintaining personal hygieneduring menstruation4. To promote maintenance of hygiene regardless of personalpreference of cloth or Sanitary Napkins to absorb menstrualflow
How we arrived at the contentSince 2010, we have reached out to over 5000 adolescent girls in ruraland urban government schools. The content in the awareness video hasbeen put together primarily based on the questions asked by adolescentgirls in government schools we visited in Bangalore, Tumkur, Hoskote,Devanahalli, Kolar, Mangalore, Karwar, Gulbarga, Mandya andChamrajnagar. While the questions came from the girls, we sought theanswers through doctors and from the book on menstrual hygiene,published by the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).The contents therefore, focus largely on the concerns of adolescent girlsand what they wish to know instead of what we feel they must know.
Guidelines for the facilitator1. Most schools we have visited, prefer a female facilitator to conductthe awareness session. If you are a male and wish to conduct thesession, ensure that you have the consent of the school principal2. Get familiar with the contents of the video. This will help inequipping yourself for interactions with the girls3. Invite female school staff to be present for the session so that thereis mutual comfort between students and staff and they can carryforward such interactions in your absence4. Request schools to invite mothers / female guardians to the sessionas the practises and encouragement at home is as important as inschool
5. We encourage having this session separately for girl students so thatthey are more comfortable to open up and share their concerns6. The age group of students who can be invited to attend this sessioncan start from 9 years (std. 5 onwards). The session will be equallyimportant for those who are yet to attain puberty as well as those whohave started menstruating7. Explain beforehand to the school staff that while discipline is good,we encourage girls to open up, speak and ask questions during thesession and therefore teachers are requested to avoid repeatedlyasking girls to maintain silenceGuidelines for the facilitator
Points to remember before you start the session:• The session will be most effective only if the facilitator engages withthe girls meaningfully before, in between and at the end of thevideo• Showing the video alone at a stretch may not serve the purposeentirely• Our objective is not to give information through one-sidedmonologues, but to enable girls to overcome their inhibitions and totalk about issues surrounding menstruation in a comfortableenvironment through interactive sessions, involving the femalestudents, facilitators, teachers and mothers, if possible
Overcoming InhibitionsThe previous picture pretty much summarizes how girls would reactwhen you first announce the purpose of your visit. Most girls willavoid looking at you, some will giggle, some will feel extremelyuncomfortable and some will be nervous that their problem mightbe highlighted in front of all.So, how would you proceed?
Overcoming InhibitionsIf the girls have to open up to you, they first need to relate to you –as a female and more importantly, as someone who has beenthrough what they are now going through.We have found that when the facilitator initiates conversation bysharing their personal experience of how they felt as an adolescentwho first attained puberty, an immediate and drastic change occursand the girls begin to open up about their experiences and problems.
Girls reacting to the facilitators experienceOvercoming Inhibitions
Do remember• Girls will only feel as comfortable to talk about menstruation as youare. The minute you hesitate, feel awkward or show embarrassment,the girls pick it up and react accordingly.• It is extremely important that as a facilitator you are comfortable totalk about your period and about menstruation, so that younggirls realize that it is OK and can be spoken about.• Adding humour to your story works wonders to lighten theatmosphere and to make girls relax and talk about their own stories.• In some cases, it does take a while to get 1 or 2 girls to talk about theirexperiences, but it is worth the time as only then will the class, as awhole get truly comfortable to talk about menstruation.
Girls sharing their experiences with the classShirali, Uttar Kannada, 2011Dandeli, Karwar, 2013Attiguppe, Bangalore, 2012Maddakanahalli, Tumkur, 2013
Once you have helped girls overcome their initial inhibitions, you mayproceed step-wise to talk about menstruation through the AnimatedVideo provided. The contents of the video have been split into 3 parts toenable interactions and invite questions at relevant intervals. Links toaccess each part of the video online has been provided. The 3 parts are:1. Common Questions – This covers the first set of questions whichgirls usually ask and are keen on knowing2. Biological basics & Hygienic practices – This section covers thebiology of what causes menstruation to occur. It also covershygienic practices of using, cleaning and disposing cloth and Sanitarynapkins3. Personal hygiene & cleanliness – This section summarises the pointscovered so far, with focus on maintaining personal hygiene duringmenstruation
Part 1 – Common QuestionsNow that girls seem more comfortable to learn aboutmenstruation, it is a good idea to invite them to ask questionsthat they have regarding menstruation. Not only is this a goodprecursor to showing the first part of the video, it will also help inbuilding curiosity among girls to know these answers andtherefore, pay attention when the video is played. Some of thetypical questions asked include:• Why do we have aches & pains during a period?• Is something wrong with me because my period occurs onlyonce in 2-3 months?• Isn’t menstrual blood impure, bad blood?Following this, Part 1 of Mythri can be played.
Links to Introduction & Part 1You can view the Introduction and Part 1 of the video at thefollowing links:Introduction - http://youtu.be/mBhMo040vp4Part 1 - http://youtu.be/xGMUC_wQEEE
Following Part 1..Before moving to part 2 of the video, interact and ask the girls if theirquestions have been answered and if anything needs to be explainedagain. If so, please take the time to slowly explain the aspects whichthey haven’t understood. Some of the important points whichschools have asked us to repeat include• How can we tell if the bleeding is heavy and when should we see adoctor for the same?• How can girls keep track of their dates (menstrual cycle) and comeprepared to school a few days before they get their period?• Is it OK if the period occurs only once in 2-3 months?• What is white discharge?
Part 2 – Biological basics & use ofhygienic practises
Part 2 – Biological basicsThis part of the video is shown in answer to the question “Whydoes this happen only to girls?” or “Why do we need tomenstruate at all?”. Often girls feel low about themselves andunfair that the process of menstruation affects only them and notboys.Continuing to carry such a feeling impacts their self-esteem, theirsense of dignity and affects their confidence. Therefore, it helpswhen the facilitator looks at the process of menstruation from adifferent angle – one of giving women the unique ability toreproduce and create life, and conveys the same to the studentsthrough part 2 of the video.
• Initiate conversations to prepare them for the next part of the videoby asking them what means they use to absorb menstrual flow.Allow them to freely express whether it is a cloth or Sanitary Napkin.• It is important to note that the lack of hygiene and problems due tounhygienic practises arise due to improper use, be it with cloth orsanitary napkin, rather than the method itself. Therefore, we do NOTencourage girls to use one way over the other and instead leave it totheir personal choice, affordability and preference after havingexplained how hygiene can be maintained with both methods.• Seek answers from them on their current practises on using,cleaning and methods of disposing so that you obtain a betterunderstanding of their practises and what needs to be corrected. Atthis stage, do not correct them. Allow them to express freely.Part 2 – Use of hygienic practises
Link to Part 2You can view Part 2 of the video at the following link:Part 2 - http://youtu.be/FFpMvw_D7sE
Following Part 2..Once part 2 has been shown, make sure they have understoodwhich of their practices need to be improved/changed and why.Some of the commonly found incorrect practices include:• Using the same cloth/pad without changing for over 8 hourswhen the flow is scanty• Drying the used, washed cloth indoors to prevent men fromseeing it• Disposing Sanitary napkins in toilets and water bodies• Sharing menstrual cloth among female family members• Unhygienic storage practices
Part 3 – Personal Hygiene & CleanlinessThis session can be initiated by asking girls what methods theycurrently use to maintain personal hygiene during menstruation,following which the video can be shown. It is important to stresson the following:• Use completely dried undergarments and cloth duringmenstruation• Do not share your cloth with other family members• Take bath daily and keep your private parts clean after eachchange of cloth/pad or visit to the toilet• Wash your hands thoroughly after each visit to the toilet
Link to Part 3You can view Part 3 of the video at the following link:Part 3 - http://youtu.be/lOtPha6pxgk
Open Discussions• Once the 3 parts of the video have been shown, the session canbe open to invite the girls to ask any other question which hasnot been covered in the video.• Often questions on religious and cultural practises such as notbeing allowed to visit temples generate a lot of curiosity amonggirls and they wish to know why.• The facilitator must keep in mind that we need to respectindividual religious and cultural practises and focus our talkprimarily on those aspects which interfere with maintaininghygiene.
Typical QuestionsQ. Why are we not allowed to visit temples during menstruation?• Response: Traditionally, practises restricting women to stayindoors came into being to ensure that they get sufficient restduring menstruation. However, the same practises have continuedto this day. While it is each person’s personal choice to visit atemple or not, please know that it has no relation to a womanbeing impure during menstruation. Menstruation is a natural,biological process.
Typical QuestionsQ. Is it OK to consume period postponing pills during religiousfestivals which otherwise require us to stay away if we aremenstruating?• Response: While it is OK to consume such pills following a doctor’sadvice once or perhaps twice a year due to unavoidablecircumstances, it is preferable to stay away from artificially changingthe course of your menstrual cycle. Delayed periods due to such pillscould be painful, heavy and could be accompanied by facial acnedue to the hormonal changes in the body. Although it isunderstandable that women feel embarrassed to announce thatthey are menstruating and hence be excused from attendingreligious ceremonies, it is more important to be concerned aboutthe health implications by repeatedly swallowing pills
Typical QuestionsQ. Disposed Sanitary Napkins attract snakes, causing a shaapa (curse)to the person who has used the pad, and might even cause theirdeath• Response: There is no truth in this. This was probably invented toprevent women from disposing Sanitary Napkins in the wrongmanner.Q. Does bleeding during menstruation cause pain in the vagina (oftenasked by girls who are yet to attain puberty)• Response: No. Unlike a wound causing blood to be discharged,menstrual bleeding does not cause any pain in the area from whereit is being discharged. However, aches and pains in the stomach,abdomen, legs, etc. are a normal process of menstruation and arecalled pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)
Carrying it forward: Before you leave, make sure that you havehanded a copy of the video to the school and formed a team ofstudents and staff who are willing to carry forward the same tofuture batches. This will ensure that the process of impartingawareness doesn’t stop with you.
One on One sessions - Before concluding the session, informthe students that you will be available for one on one sessionsif any of them wish to talk in private. Often, girls who are tooshy to speak in front of the group will come forward during thistime, after everyone else has vacated.
In conclusion - While the topic of menstruation itself is a serious one withimpact on health and well-being, the manner in which it is handled neednot be so, especially while talking to young girls. What girls need to know isthat menstruation is a normal, natural process and the problems which theygo through are universal and every woman goes through the same.
Thank you for your interest and patience in goingthrough the guidelines. Here are all the links at aglance:Introduction – http://youtu.be/mBhMo040vp4Part 1 – http://youtu.be/xGMUC_wQEEEPart 2 – http://youtu.be/FFpMvw_D7sEPart 3 – http://youtu.be/lOtPha6pxgk
We would love to hear your feedback.Do write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org withinputs, suggestions and to let us know how youintend to use this video.