This case study explores IFRC’s innovation process in developing and testing a comprehensive relief item to meet more effectively and appropriately the menstrual hygiene needs of women and girls in emergencies. To address the multifaceted nature of menstrual hygiene management (MHM), grantees used a kitbased approach, including appropriate sanitary and hygiene items along with training for staff and information for beneficiaries. They developed two MHM kits – one containing disposable pads (Kit A) and the other reusable pads (Kit B) – with the aim of comparing the two. In addition to sanitary pads, each kit contains a selection of additional items needed to effectively and hygienically manage menstrual flow, such as underwear, soap and a bucket and educational materials. An initial trial of the kits was developed in Burundi in 2012, supported by the Norwegian, Netherlands and British Red Cross Societies. In 2013, three additional pilots were initiated in Madagascar, Somalia and Uganda with funding from the Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF), with the aim of testing the kits in a wider range of locations. One of the innovative aspects of the project is its focus on generating evidence on appropriate MHM interventions and the use of participatory methods to achieve this. Kit contents were developed through ongoing consultation with the women and girls who would be their users. The kits and accompanying educational materials have thus evolved over the trials in response to emerging findings from focus group discussions (FGDs) and surveys with beneficiaries in each location. For example, following FGDs in Somalia, a third type of kit (Kit C) containing both reusable and disposable pads was developed to account for seasonal variations in water availability. Once the trials are completed, detailed specifications for MHM kits will be included in the Red Cross/Red Crescent (RC/RC) Emergency Items Catalogue (EIC), an open-source resource. These will be available to guide humanitarian actors to effectively address MHM needs in new contexts.
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