The district administration of Ranchi in Jharkhand has launched a unique initiative called MHM Chaachi to break the culture of silence around menstruation. Given that a discussion about menstruation is often done in hushed tones, bringing the topic into an open space would enable girls to be freer and boys to support girls and women to manage their menstruation effectively.
During the campaign, MHM (Menstrual Hygiene Management) Chaachi boxes or kits will be distributed to all the 13 Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBV) which are residential girls’ secondary schools run by the Government of India for girls from the tribal community.
The kits contain comic books, IEC material and other information pertaining to MHM. It will also have a stock of reusable sanitary pads and guidelines about how to use and them.
The initiative launched on 20th October is certainly timely considering that women, particularly in the rural areas have no information on MHM or access to menstrual products.
Commenting on the initiative, District Collector of Ranchi, Mr. Mahimapat Ray said, “The social taboo surrounding menstruation excludes women from many aspects of social and cultural life. This needs to change.”
He said that capacity building of teachers on this vital subject would be organized so that they would be equipped to take sessions for students – every month. It would give them an opportunity to clear their doubts and fears. MHM Chaachi would provide a library kind of setup.
The initiative is being supported by WSSCC and Menstrupedia who will be providing IEC materials, comics, etc. to be installed in libraries of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas.
Aspirational District Fellow, Ranchi, Mr. Satwik Mishra informed that the team is working to cover as many as 100 schools by end of this year, under this initiative.
Menstruation is an everyday reality for millions of women and girls across the country. A natural biological process, which should dignify girls and women, has become a subject of shame that is seldom discussed, steeped in various myths surrounding menstruation. The silence around menstruation needs to be broken: not only by addressing the practical issues of menstrual hygiene management (MHM), but also by creating a supportive environment to empower girls and women. This can be done by providing information about their bodies, and destigmatising the issue of menstruation.
Last year, NITI Aayog introduced ‘Transformation of Aspirational District Program’ to develop 117 aspirational districts of the country. MHA, being the nodal ministry to implement this program in 35 LWE affected districts of India, sent young professionals as ‘Aspirational District Fellow’ in all these 35 districts, to assist DMs/DCs, in fueling up the development engine.
The project ‘MHM Chachi’ was proposed by the Aspirational District Fellow Satwik Mishra, which readily got accepted by the Deputy Commissioner Mr. Rai Mahimapat Ray