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November 2020 
Menstrual Memo sent with love (5 min. read)


Sending our support, one Memo at a time! 

After what has felt like a very turbulent year, we're happy to be the ones to deliver you some great wins from the world of period activism and menstrual health! In this Memo, we've got some AMAZING events, fascinating new research and some new sections to introduce, including news from our 'Inner Circle' and a 'MH Community Blackboard' to get you all excited about more community interaction! 

Check it out, we'll think you'll love it!


Your period pals,


P.s. Do you love our Menstrual Memos? Show us a little love by donating $25 today so we can continue giving our best to you every month! 

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Image: Vanessa Ramirez from Pexels
 
Sweden pushes for global ISO standards for menstrual products

POLICY
 

Regulations around menstrual products are still shamefully inadequate, meaning that globally there is no guarantee that menstrual products, such as tampons, pads, and cups, are safe or of good quality. Isn't that INSANE? To help change this, the Swedish Institute for Standards, SIS, along with other several Swedish stakeholders, have submitted a proposal to the consumer advocacy organization within ISO, called Copolco to standardize the quality of products. Happy to see Sweden joining the ranks of other organizations like RHSC, MHAI and others who have been advocating for standards for the last few years! Updates to follow! 

Read the full press release


New funding report provides concrete actions to
'end period poverty'


POLICY


The Kulcyzk Foundation, based in Poland, have launched a comprehensive report detailing effective ways to fund and address period poverty. This report, A Bloody Problem: Period Poverty, Why We Need to End It and How To Do It, is the first of its kind and seeks to devise effective funding solutions to address period poverty. To achieve this, they showcase eight organizations working across the world (including members of our Inner Circle, Days for Girls and WoMena!) that were the most cost-effective in implementing a range of scalable, evidence-based interventions.
Did you see?! The MH Hub is also included in the report (page 58) as an
indirect innovation in movement building for our work in collating available data and creating links between researchers, programmers, and advocates!

Read the full report here
Image: Columbia Mailman University School of Public Health
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Integrating MHH into the Ebola Response

PROGRAMME GUIDANCE 

This new tool from Columbia University provides streamlined guidance and practical insights for integrating menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) into Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) response. It was informed by a global desk review and key informant interviews with global experts involved in a range of EVD response efforts in Africa over the last decade.

Check out the guidance note
BONUS: New from UNICEF
Image: UNICEF
 
Finally - a comprehensive new Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) Guide 

PROGRAMME GUIDANCE 

The purpose of this guide is to support the development and/or improvement of MHH monitoring, by highlighting basic principles (including ethical considerations) and example questions to monitor the various elements of MHH. A stellar accompaniment to UNICEF's 2019 Guidance to Menstrual Health & Hygiene (MHH), the questions and the wider guidance are not intended to be comprehensive or prescriptive; rather, they represent practical suggestions for monitoring MHH, based on sector
experiences and the best available information at the time of publication.

Check out the M&E guidance

Femme International have joined our Inner Circle! Femme's mission is to uplift women in East Africa by breaking the menstrual taboo and do this by taking a bottom-up approach to address the problems faced by people who menstruate. This partnership with the MH Hub will enable them to access a wider platform to share their contributions to solving period poverty in East Africa. Welcome, Femme!

Aisle just added a fun new counter on their website that tracks how much waste is diverted, emissions avoided, and energy conserved through the purchase of their products. As of today, they have prevented
217,001 disposable products from being put into the landfill, avoided creating 639,113 lbs. of CO2 emissions and conserved 5,459,224 kWh of energy! Incredible!

AFRIpads are now expanding their products to include underwear! Their new underwear is comfortable, well-fitting and durable, and works in perfect combination with AFRIpads Reusable Pads, or as everyday underwear. Learn more about it here!


Days for Girls just turned 12 this past weekend! And, they are inviting you to be a part of something special this year. To help them reach their goal of serving 2 million women and girls by December 31st, support their efforts today.
We are always looking for supportive new partners to help us continue growing the global menstrual movement. 
Talk to Danielle about joining the MH Hub Inner Circle
Jobs in Menstrual & Female Health

BeGirl - Marketing Director
Mama Cash - Senior HR Manager

Do you have any reports on progress or events in the East & Southern African region? WoMena are updating this 2018 report they wrote for UNPFA. They are particularly interested in general policy-level changes, specifically on tax exemptions, inclusion of menstrual health in school curricula, or other programs.

Please get in touch with Bianca Luff by November 20th to help make sure WoMena includes important advances, reports and challenges!

Contribute your East & Southern African reports to WoMena!

We love reusable menstrual products, but the most important thing is that people are able to use any menstrual product that works best for their situation, and that they can do this without shame or worry. Read this great article on a rights-based and pro-choice approach to menstrual product

 

Our friends at Menstrual Health Alliance India (MHAI) are conducting a study to understand acceptability of menstrual cups as an alternative option to disposable sanitary pads for women in India aged 18-45. The study will include participation in a focus group discussion in person (Delhi) or over video conference, with 2-3 follow-ups. Interested? Please register HERE

Period Reality have launched a new survey to collect stories to share about the realities of having a period in an inclusive and engaging way. They encourage every gender and all ages to participate! Fill it out HERE

Want to post something on the new Community Blackboard?
Contact us to inquire about our rates! 


A Virtual Technical Consultation On Contraceptive-Induced Menstrual Changes


9:00 - 11:30 AM EST
November 17th, 2020 &
November 18th, 2020

 
This virtual technical consultation will convene experts in the fields of family planning & menstrual health to review evidence


Register here





Period Posse Presents:
Beyond Products: Prioritizing Menstrual Disposal & Maintenance in
Emergencies

8:00 AM – 1:00 PM EST
November 18th, 2020


Join this Period Posse seminar to learn about innovative methods of menstrual disposal, waste management, and laundering.

Register here
 
Menstrual Product Tax: Assessing Impact & Action

3:00 - 4:30PM CET
November 19th, 2020

This event will present new research on the economic impact of the reduction/removal of taxes on menstrual products and highlight experiences and learnings from advocacy campaigns in Bangladesh, Nigeria and South Africa.
Winkler et al., 2020: The Politics, Promises, and Perils of Data: Evidence-Driven Policy and Practice for Menstrual Health. Several scholars from multiple disciplines discuss questions about data as a continuation of a conversation that took place at the biennial conference of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research in Colorado Springs in June 2019. Researchers agree data collection is both a necessary and a complicated part of uncovering neglected issues and aiding in prioritisation of those issues by policymakers. The analysations of data can determine policy and programme decisions to improve menstrual health (MH) education and awareness. However, the decision of what data is collected or not is not an accident; therefore, data is political. The scholars discuss the unreliability of using participant recall for data, lack of funding for research, and complying with donors to produce a certain type of data. They highlight the increase in use of technologies to track menstrual cycles and as a result have improved the accuracy and amount of data collected on the subject. Other problems arise such as data privacy and political issues such as the funders or creators of the app and who financially supports them. Additionally, they express concerns over the lack of inclusion of participants in the decisions making process for improvements of MH programmes. To conclude, risks are inevitable, but together better awareness of communication, contextualisation, and collaboration in future MH studies can address them.

Mags E. Beksinska et. al., 2020: Acceptability and Performance of the Menstrual Cup in South Africa: A Randomized Crossover Trial Comparing the Menstrual Cup to Tampons or Sanitary Pads. 50% of 509 female students aged 18-24 years attending education institutions in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa reported that inserting the menstrual cup was very easy or quite easy on first use. Of those who did not find it easy, 80% achieve comfort after 2-3 insertions. 5 insertions was the maximum to achieve comfort. More than 90% who had used the cup would continue to use it. Conclusion:’The menstrual cup was well accepted among this student population and should be considered as a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable option in menstrual health management initiatives in South Africa.

Critchley et al., 2020: Menstruation: science and society. 
Enhanced meeting report from the 2-day meeting convened by the Gynecologic Health and Disease Branch of the Eunice Kenny Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Sept 2018 about “Menstruation: Science and Society”. This meeting had the aim of “identifying gaps and opportunities in menstruation science and to raise awareness of the need for more research in this field.” This report has extensive up-to-date (as of submission) context, capturing the spectrum from how the basic processes of menstruation commence in response to progesterone withdrawal, through the role of tissue-resident and circulating stem and progenitor cells in monthly regeneration—and current gaps in knowledge on how dysregulation leads to abnormal uterine bleeding and other menstruation-related disorders such as adenomyosis, endometriosis, and fibroids—to the clinical challenges in diagnostics, treatment, and patient and societal education. It concludes with an overview of how the global agenda concerning menstruation, and specifically menstrual health and hygiene, are gaining momentum, ranging from increasing investment in addressing menstruation-related barriers facing girls in schools in low- to middle-income countries to the more recent “menstrual equity” and “period poverty” movements spreading across high-income countries.
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P.s. Check out past Menstrual Memos here!
*We use the word female to denote the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs, distinguished biologically by the production of gametes (ova). At the MH Hub, the term 'female health' is used to capture the experiences related to the presence of the menstrual cycle and the specific health issues an individual may face over their life cycle as a result.  We recognize that not all women menstruate, and not all who menstruate identify with being a woman, and strongly advocate for the inclusion of diverse voices, identities and bodies in discussions around female and menstrual health.


Copyright © 2020, Menstrual Health Hub gUG, All rights reserved.


The Menstrual Health Hub (MH Hub) is a female health impact organization focused on ecosystem-building, knowledge sharing and high-level advocacy around menstrual health worldwide. Menstrual Health Hub gUG (haftungsbeschränkt) is a German nonprofit-enterprise company (limited liability)  

MH Hug UG is a strategic consulting agency specializing in gender and female health.
 MH Hub UG (haftungsbeschränkt) is an German enterprise company (limited liability). Both companies are registered at Factory Berlin, 76/77 Rheinsbergerstraße, 10115 Berlin, Germany. 

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