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Expression of Interest to conduct Research on Extent of Menstrual Hygiene Management inclusion in Policies in Southern Africa


Study Overview


The WaterAid Southern Africa Region is seeking to understand the current policies and political structures that provide for efficient management of menstrual hygiene within Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) and health programmes in the Southern Africa region. The links between WASH and MHM are critical. Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) refers to the ways that girls and women keep clean and healthy during menstruation and how they acquire, use and dispose of materials used during menstruation. MHM also includes using soap and water for washing the body as required and having access to facilities to dispose of used menstrual management materials (Joint Monitoring Programme, 2012).  MHM cuts across many issues such as gender, equity, disability, location, poverty, class and religion. MHM is still very much a neglected subject; and there is a reluctance to talk openly about the subject, which impacts greatly on the health and well-being of women and girls. In many cultures and across the globe, the process and menstruation management is a taboo subject, and this can lead to misinformation and the promotion of dangerous menstrual hygiene practices. In schools, there is usually lack of psychological education.


Many female students encounter challenges in managing their menses en route to and within the school environment. Such challenges include: inadequate water and sanitation facilities, with many schools having insufficient numbers of private, safe and clean latrines; lack of access by schools to clean water within or near the latrine or toilet facilities for washing menstrual stains from clothes and uniforms; and inadequate mechanisms in schools for the disposal of used menstrual materials or menstrual waste. Many women still face stigma and inadequate resources plus a lack of knowledge in managing menstrual hygiene. This is further exacerbated by the fact that menstrual hygiene remains a closed topic of debate and main stream conversation. Many girls reach menarche without adequate guidance on how to manage menstruation, or even what it is. In many countries, this is a result of the taboo of menstruation. There are cultural restrictions that prevent these discussions, and in many cultures women are considered ‘unclean’ when menstruating. Women and girls face a lack of clean water in or near sanitation facilities for washing themselves and their clothes, proper mechanisms for disposal of menstrual materials and waste, and many times a lack of sanitation facilities altogether. The use of cloths for menstrual absorbents is common in the developing world. These cloths are washed and kept until the next month. Because of shame and taboos surrounding menstruation, sometimes the cloths are hidden in unhygienic areas, increasing women’s risk for infections. Further, reproductive tract infections are associated with poor menstrual hygiene.  


Purpose and Objectives of the Study




SAfAIDS is inviting applications from experienced individuals that are committed to women and girls health, within an SRH framework, to conduct a rapid research into policies and practices which govern the efficient management of menstrual hygiene in 6 southern African countries: Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zambia. This information base will also contribute towards the post-2015 agenda around women’s health within an SRH context; as well as linking to HIV prevention efforts for girls and young women in the region.


Objectives of the Study


The main objective of the Consultancy is to generate a researched document that:


  • Establishes and describes the current policies and structure that provide for efficient management of menstrual hygiene at national level and how they inter-relate to the district level policies on MHM in 6 countries mentioned above in Southern Africa.
  • Demonstrates how these policies cut across various sectors of health, education, environment, and water, sanitation and hygiene.
  • Analyses latest (from 2009 – present) public community programmes on MHM in line with the policy practice at national level; including any ongoing community or district level initiatives on improving MHM policies.
  • Presents policy gaps around MHM at community and district levels and how these are complimented by national level policies on MHM.
  • Highlights key opportunities for WaterAid to leverage its work on MHM

Deliverables and Timelines


The main deliverables to be fulfilled by October 20, 2014 include the following:


  1. Detailed work-plan including budget not exceeding USD 4,500 (week ending 29 August 2014). Note, the consultant will not do any field visits
  2. Develop data collection tools (week ending 29 August 2014)
  3. Desk review week ending (week ending 5 September 2014)
  4. First Draft Report (week ending 10 October 2014)
  5. Final Report  (week ending 17 October 2014)
  6. Close out on 20 October 2014

Consultant’s qualification


The consultant should have at minimum a Masters Degree in Public Health or related Masters Degree. In addition, the consultant should have at least 7 years experience in conducting qualitative research on MHM and women & girls’. International and regional research experience and knowledge required. In addition, in-depth knowledge of countries the 6 countries is also required.


How to Apply


Applicants with the experience, skills and expertise for this assignment should submit a detailed CV and application letter to  and   no later than 22 August 2014.


Donwload Expression of Interest in PDF here

Expression of Interest to conduct Research on Extent of Menstrual Hygiene Management inclusion in Policies in Southern Africa84.03 KB