Improving action for Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergencies

Organisation: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

Partners: Norwegian Red Cross, Icelandic Red Cross

Location: Kenya

Type of grant: Core – diffusion

Status: Ongoing

  • South Sudanese refugee women carrying their newly received Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) Kits, West Nile, northern Uganda. Credit: Netherlands Red Cross/IFRC

  • Malawi Red Cross volunteers holding a focus group discussion with girls to talk about their menstrual hygiene needs and challenges. Credit: Daniela Elzer/Malawi Red Cross

  • Women reading and discussing IEC material on menstrual hygiene and how to stay healthy, Bwagiriza refugee camp, Burundi. Credit: Corinne Ambler/New Zealand Red Cross

Knowledge, best practices and tools developed through the Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) Kit innovation process in East Africa will be consolidated and disseminated globally, with the aim of adoption by internal and external actors for comprehensive, effective and accountable MHM action in emergencies.


MHM is currently not a standard component of WASH or health interventions in emergencies within the Red Cross and Red Crescent (RCRC) movement. There is a lack of awareness of the issues and risks with MHM in emergencies at a strategic, decision making level; both within the RCRC and external partners. This translates to MHM not being considered or being excluded from emergency programming, or limited or no funding being available for comprehensive actions. There is a lack of practical, comprehensive and accessible RCRC specific guidelines and tools to support standardised, quality and accountable MHM action globally.


Dissemination and advocacy will lead to increased awareness among decision makers in the RCRC and broader humanitarian response community, on the importance of and need to address MHM in emergency programming. RCRC National Societies will have improved knowledge and capacity to implement comprehensive, effective and accountable MHM programming in emergencies, including practical and relevant tools and resources. The overall goal is to enable women and adolescent girls to safely and hygienically manage their menstrual flow with dignity during emergency situations.


The overall potential outcome of effective diffusion is improvements in dignity and health of women and girls in emergency contexts. A key outcome will be the adoption of the comprehensive MHM kit as a humanitarian relief item, with further adaptation to various contexts, local procurement where appropriate, and consultation with women and girls through participatory assessment and feedback mechanisms. Although RCRC focused, the guidelines and resources could support other humanitarian actors to make decisions regarding appropriate, comprehensive and quality MHM action in emergencies.

Evidence-based advocacy will sensitise internal and external partners to consider MHM as an important, multi-faceted component of emergency WASH programming – and emphasise that close coordination with other sectors (health, education, protection etc) is vital.

Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110).

Web design by Teamworks