Girls in Nepal often miss school during menstruation due to the inadequacy of bathroom facilities, as well as the lack of knowledge and systems to support their needs. This has a huge effect on girls' education and their current and future well-being. According to UNICEF, “study after study shows that educating girls is the single most effective policy to raise overall economic productivity, lower infant and maternal mortality, educate the next generation, improve nutrition and promote health” (UNICEF, Millennium Development Goals). The school in our village has over 200 students and faculty, 60 of whom are of menstruating age, that share one squat toilet. The only place to wash up is a pipe laying on the ground and there is no soap. Through anonymous surveys of female students, half said that they have missed school due to the inadequacy of toilet facilities and their inability to manage their periods while at school. The school has an on-going re-building program with plans to construct new bathroom facilities, but lacks funding. This grant proposes to increase girls’ access to education by building key community and school members' capacity to support the needs of these girls as well as building new, adequate girls’ bathrooms.
Specialized trainers will be brought from Days for Girls, an international organization, who will teach menstrual health, hygiene and management, and reusable pad-making to female community leaders. These participants will then give these trainings at school both with, and to, girls of menstruating age on an on-going basis. Upon bathroom completion, a women's health day program will also be held at school and cover topics such as women's nutrition, reproductive, mental, and menstrual health. Reusable pad-sewing, along with hygiene and sanitation will also be taught. This day will be facilitated by female community leaders from the health post and school. The goal is to develop leadership among the facilitators, empower women to understand themselves and their needs, and to be aware of and support the needs within their larger communities. Along with dedicating much of the labor costs needed for the bathroom construction, the local community with health post staff, school administration and teachers, and community health volunteers will give their time and effort to make this happen. It is our intention that school be a place that supports all its students along their educational journey.