The Training of Trainers (ToT) on Dignified Menstruation kickstarted on 1 July 2024 at the Granbell Hotel Colombo, Sri Lanka. The five-day training is a joint initiative of The Colombo Plan and the Global South Coalition for Dignified Menstruation (GSCDM). The GSCDM is a non-profit organisation that advocates for freedom from all forms of discrimination associated with menstruation across all gender identities.

The event began with opening remarks by Ms. Merlyn Francisco, Chief Financial Officer of The Colombo Plan. The training is being facilitated by Program Coordinator Ms. Sapana Poudel and Dr Radha Paudel, Founder of the GSCDM based in Nepal which is a member country of The Colombo Plan since 1952. Dr Radha Paudel is a Nepalese nurse, activist and writer, advocating towards creating awareness on issues related to women.

The objective of this training is to explore approaches to dismantling menstrual discrimination, build a movement on Dignified Menstruation (DM) and enhance the capacity of The Colombo Plan’s member countries to address the same. GSCDM defines the term “Dignified Menstruation” as an innovative and holistic approach to address all forms of menstrual discrimination beyond hygiene, sanitary products and infrastructure to achieve gender equality. 

The training programme is being attended by 23 participants representing 13 countries including Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, US, UK, Sweden, South Korea, Sudan, Rwanda, France, Switzerland, the Philippines and the Netherlands.

Day 1 covered crucial topics surrounding menstrual health: from mapping practices in schools, workplaces, and communities, to tackling mental health issues associated with menstruation.  Training proceedings also included an eye-opening conversation on cross-cultural experiences regarding menstruation and shed light on the stark contrast of perspectives from the global south versus the global west.

When asked about the expectations of the overall training, Nisha Kesavan, Head of Projects for Sanitation First India, stated that she looks forward to delving into global practices and synergies pertaining to dignified menstruation.

Policy frameworks and capacity building for leaders and academia emerged as crucial strategies moving forward, reinforced by a strong belief that “menstrual health should be a human right”, as passionately stated by Priscilla Natukunda, Social Enterprise Support Manager for PSI Europe.

Lucy Martin-Patrick from the UK found it intriguing how despite the stigma surrounding menstruation, some countries celebrate its onset on a grand scale to mark a significant milestone in a child’s life. She also emphasized that the journey of learning continues, even for those with extensive cross-cultural experiences, considering the diverse practices and ideologies across countries and cultures regarding menstruation and native traditions. Lucy’s expertise and work includes The Oda Foundation based in Western Nepal, supporting interventions with youth and women on topics such as menstrual education.

34, 5th Floor, M 2 M Verandah Offices, W.A.D. Ramanayake Mawatha,
Colombo 3, Sri Lanka
P.O Box 596

Hotline: +94 11 2576 322
Fax: +94 11 2576 311
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