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We are Elrha, a force for change in the humanitarian community. The research and innovation we support equips the humanitarian community with the knowledge of what works, so people affected by crises get the right help when they need it most.
Our purpose is clear: to empower the humanitarian community to improve humanitarian response. We make this happen by supporting and championing the outcomes of robust research and proven innovations.
We empower the humanitarian community. Find out how we can support you...

What humanitarian need is being addressed?

Inadequate access to safe, private, accessible spaces for menstrual hygiene management (MHM)  is a pressing problem for people in humanitarian crises.

Fears, misinformation, and stigma limit women’s ability to manage menstruation in safety and dignity, especially those with disabilities. Sanitation facility design needs to address these challenges and meaningfully engage women and girls.

Understanding the complexity around MHM in humanitarian crises is urgently needed, given that menstruation remains shrouded in secrecy and stigma. This research will make a significant contribution to the field’s understanding of how women and girls in humanitarian contexts respond to and manage menstrual-related challenges, particularly around sanitation facilities.

What is the innovative solution and how will it improve existing humanitarian practice?

The methodology of this project is rooted in user-centered design. Cocoon will obtain comprehensive user insights and input from women, girls and community members. Their knowledge, attitudes, behaviours, and experiences will input into every stage of the design process to ensure the solution is valued, utilised and sustainable.

It will improve existing humanitarian practices by adding impactful examples of design to the field. User-centered design has been used for decades by the business community to develop products, technologies, and services, but utilizing these effective approaches to tackling public health issues is relatively new.

YLabs will also be collaborating with Alight, a humanitarian organization that has developed Kuja Kuja, a real-time feedback system that has collected data from thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons in Uganda. Using initial data, the intervention site with the highest need has been selected.

What are the expected outcomes?

The expected outcomes of this project are to develop, adapt, pilot and evaluate a product or service that will create safe spaces for managing menstruation among displaced populations.

  • First, the findings of this study will be used to inform the intervention design.
  • Then, a multi-disciplinary team of service designers, public health professionals, program partners, and creative designers will work together to use insights to inspire and inform the creation of a range of prototype interventions that will be tested and refined.
  • Sharing the findings with study participants and their communities in an equitable and actional format as a priority for YLabs and their partners.
  • The report will also be printed and disseminated in Uganda among various partners and a plain English version will be translated into Juba Arabic and Bari Kakwa. This dissemination process will be led by the project’s local partner.
Photo Credit: YLabs

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