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Columbia Co-Hosts Annual Virtual Menstrual Hygiene Management in WASH in Schools Conference with UNICEF

Columbia’s Mailman School and UNICEF will hold the 3rd annual virtual Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) conference on October 29, bringing together the WASH in Schools (WinS) community, MHM experts, and global health and education experts from academia and organizations from around the world that are currently implementing MHM-related activities. The conference provides an opportunity for the global WinS community to share program descriptions and lessons learned, gather documentation for interventions, and share recommendations about how new MHM programs can be developed by WinS practitioners. The virtual conference also will build on the content and recommendations of the prior two conferences, and continue the effort to fill in the gaps in the existing knowledge and advocacy around this important issue.

Dr. Marni Sommer, associate professor of Sociomedical Sciences, leads the initiative at the Mailman School, where her areas of expertise include conducting participatory research with adolescents for understanding and promoting healthy transitions to adulthood and implementing and evaluating adolescent-focused interventions.

The majority of participants will join in the conversation via webex with a very small number of in-person participants in New York City. This will allow for the sharing of a range of content and discussions following each presentation while accommodating various time zones. A smaller group of MHM-related experts will further discuss moving forward the MHM in WinS global agenda at a follow-on in-person conference held in New York City on October 30.

Session One: Program Components
What programs are currently being implemented to address the MHM barriers facing girls in a range of contexts? What are the key components of the programs? Who are the key stakeholders?

Session Two: Program Scale and Impact

What are the findings on the current scale and impact of existing MHM programs? What are the goals for future scale-up? What barriers and enablers to scale and impact are being encountered in various contexts?

Session Three: Recommendations for New Programs

What program approaches are recommended for organizations seeking to initiate an MHM program in WinS? What are recommended first steps for initiating an MHM in WinS program?

Interested participants are encouraged to contact MHMinNY@gmail.com and submit abstracts by August 15 indicating interest in presenting at the virtual conference and a proposal outline. Submissions should focus on the following topical areas that have been identified in recent years as fundamental aspects of MHM in WinS:

For anyone interested in participating in the conference online (but not presenting), please send an email indicating interest and the conference organizers will provide an agenda and login information when the conference date gets closer.