Page 31 - MHM Report-2023
P. 31

The Apron:

            Teaching human biology

                  or Supriya Saidane in Dhadgaon block,
                  Nandurbar district, Maharashtra, the apron
            Fshe wears is an important tool of education.
            The apron in question is not a regular one; it bears
            an illustration of the female reproductive system.
            Often met with giggles at first sight, the apron
            has succeeded in delivering the right information
            around menstruation.
                Like Supriya, several team members of the
            Tata Trusts’ MHM programme effectively use the
            apron to explain the biology of menstruation to
            women and men alike. The visual impact of the
            apron is further aided by exercises where women
            are asked to close their fists to gain an idea of the
            size of the uterus. Next, the women learn where
            each of their vital reproductive organs are placed
            in their bodies. They also relate these to their
            monthly periods. Understanding the body and
            its functions is the first and most important step    For Navli Bai from south Rajasthan, MHM
            towards women’s menstrual health.                 counselling opened up a new line of conversation
                “Knowing about ‘safe days’ helps me with      with her husband. “My husband did not know
            family planning,” says Savita Tudu, a 20-year-old   anything about it (menstruation) earlier,” she
            from Chanaro village in Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh    says. “Now he understands and helps me with
            district. Savita is one of the thousands of women   housework when I have my periods.” Awareness
            who have benefitted from the Tata Trusts’ MHM     has turned Navli Bai into an MHM crusader in her
            counselling sessions. Information about bodily    community. She encourages her friends to have a
            changes accompanying the onset of puberty, the    frank and open conversation about menstruation
            role of the menstrual cycle in family planning, and   with their husbands.
            charts on period trackers are also made available     Getting the men similarly aware of the
            at these sessions for women and adolescent girls.  biology behind menstruation is critical to the
                Tata Trusts’ MHM interventions extend         sustainability of the intervention. For instance,
            awareness on human biology (both male and         in a rural, patriarchal setup, male consent and
            female) to adolescent boys and men through        participation is crucial to ensure that sufficient
            different counselling sessions. Anecdotal evidence   WaSH facilities are created. Further, women are
            suggests that involving young boys and men in     more likely to discard superstitious practices
            MHM programmes helps escalate success on two      related to menstruation when supported by a male
            main counts: access and awareness.                family member.

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