Adolescent Girls Set up Sanitary Pads Bank Through Own Contributions

It is rare to discuss sexual and reproductive health with adolescents, especially in rural areas that still hold on to deep-rooted prejudices and social taboo. Believing that young people, especially girls, should take control of their lives and their health, Population Foundation of India launched a campaign in 292 villages in Bihar. Girls’ groups were formed to meet every month, share information, and learn about subjects concerning them, including gender equality, mental and sexual health, hygiene, and nutrition. Social Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) materials like message boxes (Sandesh ka pitara) were given to every girls’ group, which allowed them to raise questions anonymously and openly discuss taboo topics. Menstrual hygiene emerged as an important concern for the girls, and they decided to set up a sanitary napkin bank through their own monthly contributions. Girls who would otherwise have lost school days or be restricted to their homes during menstruation were able to take care of their personal hygiene, and control their mobility.