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.
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.
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.
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