The MH Day Action Cycle
Due to the absence of internationally agreed goals for menstrual health and hygiene (MHH), few organisations have clear, measurable goals for MHH, have dedicated budgets for the issue, or publicly report on results. As a consequence, MHH continues to be under-prioritised and underfunded.
To address this challenge, the Menstrual Hygiene Day secretariat introduced the Menstrual Hygiene Day Action Cycle in 2022. The Action Cycle is a collective, annually recurring commitment mechanism for all relevant actors, including both implementing organisations and funders. By increasing transparency and accountability, the Action Cycle aims to catalyse action and investment in MHH.
Action cycle 2023
Next round of Action Cycle
In Q2 2023, we will launch the next round of the Action Cycle. As well as welcoming more commitments to action, to catalyse funding for MHH, we call on all actors who have expressed support for the issue to lead by example and commit significant funding to MHH. Join the Action Cycle in 2023! Together, we will create a world where periods are a normal fact of life.
MH Day Action Cycle report 2022
In 2022, 93 organisations across the world participated in the Action Cycle. Given that this was the first iteration of the cycle, this is a strong result. In total, we received an impressive 93 commitments to action, but only a meagre four commitments to funding. This striking imbalance underscores the urgent need to catalyse investment in this area. Key funders continue to sit on the fence and are reluctant to commit themselves. Many were focused on other priorities, such as the ongoing global pandemic, the Afghanistan crisis and the war in Ukraine. However, this cannot distract from the urgency of addressing menstrual health and hygiene-related challenges that prevent millions of women, girls and people who menstruate from living lives free of stigma and shame.
Overview of Action Cycle commitments
commitments to action
Type of organisation
At 67 percent, national and international NGOs make up the vast majority of commitment makers. In contrast, 12 percent of commitments came from the private sector. Largely, the category ‘other’ contains collectives of organisations, committees or groups of people working on MHH.
Commitments per region
64 percent of commitments came from organisations based in Africa, making it the most represented region. Globally, the top seven countries with the most commitments are Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, India, Cameroon, USA, and South Africa. We didn’t receive commitments from organisations based in South America. Therefore, in 2023, we intend to do more outreach focussed on Spanish and Portuguese-speaking organisations.
Note: This table reflects the regions where the commitment makers are based and not necessarily where the project activities take place.
All 2022 action-focused commitments per category
Organisations had the option to submit commitments across six categories:
- Taboos and stigma
- Access to menstrual products
- Education about menstruation
- Period-friendly sanitation infrastructure
- Policy change
Many organisations submitted commitments relating to projects that cover more than one category. Therefore, some organisations appear in multiple category lists.
Taboos and stigma
A total of 51 organisations made commitments related to addressing menstruation stigma and taboos. Collectively, they committed to reaching 699,638,380 people around the world. WASH United’s commitment is a collective impact commitment of 695 million people reached through the Menstrual Hygiene Day campaign and other campaigns in 2022.
The collective commitment by WASH United, Kimberly-Clark Corporation’s ‘Kotex She Can Initiative’ (2.3 million people) and a programme by The Girl Child Values Support Initiative in rural secondary schools in Nigeria (1 million people) are the three largest commitments overall.
Access to menstrual products
In 2022, 71 organisations committed to improving access to menstrual products with the aim of reaching 14,008,572 beneficiaries in total. Over 80 per cent of the commitments will support people living in African countries. Procter & Gamble (12 million beneficiaries globally) and AFRIpads Ltd. (650,000 beneficiaries in Uganda) submitted the largest commitments.
Education about menstruation
In this iteration of the Action Cycle, 76 organisations made commitments relating to education about menstruation. Through their activities, participating organisations aimed to reach 21,972,986 people in 2022. Two organisations committed to reaching the majority of the beneficiaries: 1. Procter & Gamble committed to reaching 18 million people and 2. Kimberly-Clark Corporation, who committed to reaching 2.3 million beneficiaries. Among the remaining 74 commitments:
- Approximately 22 per cent of the commitments are classified as large commitments (10,000 or more beneficiaries)
- 47 per cent are medium-sized commitments (1,000 to 9,999 beneficiaries)
- and 31 per cent are small commitments (less than 1,000 beneficiaries).
Period-friendly sanitation infrastructure
16 organisations made commitments to improving access to period-friendly sanitation infrastructure. In total, they committed to reaching 16,073 people. More than 80 per cent of the organisations in this category are NGOs. Five of the commitments are larger initiatives, aiming to benefit between 1,000 and 5,000 people in Senegal, Kenya, DR Congo and South Africa. Association Santé Mobil (Senegal) and Lake Victoria Basin Talent Development and Adolescent Health (Kenya) made the largest commitments.
20 organisations have committed to changing MHH-related policies around the world. Estimating concrete reach numbers in this category can be difficult, as sometimes entire populations are affected by a new law or policy change. The commitment makers estimate that their work will benefit a total of more than 31 million people. Activities include strengthening the capacity of the Kenyan government to implement Kenya’s MH policy (Days for Girls Kenya), passing menstrual equity legislation in Illinois, US (She Votes Illinois) or improving collaboration with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on MHH (Simavi).
We received 11 commitments from 10 organisations in the ‘other’ category. Initiatives include publishing and disseminating research priorities for a MHH study or to co-publish indicators and guidance for national monitoring of MHH (both from the Global Menstrual Collective). Four of the 11 commitments have global impact, five are based in African countries, one is in the Netherlands, and one is in India. Similar to ‘policy change’, it is difficult to define reach numbers for the commitments in this category. The commitment makers estimate that 4,649 people will be reached through their activities.
All funding commitments
We received four commitments to funding, which were submitted by three organisations. By far largest submission was from the French Development Agency, who committed EUR 3.15 million to an MHH Development Impact Bond in Ethiopia. In total EUR 3,203,210 was committed by all funders.