Over the last 15 years, menstrual hygiene management (MHM) has become a global public health priority (Sommer et al., 2015). Numerous qualitative studies have shown that poor MHM experienced by girls in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are linked to a host of negative physiological, educational, health, and psycho-social outcomes. In 2017, the Zambian government launched a national policy to improve MHM and potentially increase girls’ attendance and gender parity by distributing free sanitary pads in schools in partnership with local NGOs. However, there has not been any rigorous evaluation of this policy.
While there is strong qualitative evidence highlighting the innumerable challenges poor MHM poses for menstruating girls, there is little empirical evidence on the effectiveness of MHM interventions for schooling and health (Sommer et al., 2016). It is crucial that this gap is filled so that Zambia, and other countries like it, are equipped with evidence of the most effective MHM interventions. Through an extensive literature review supplemented by in-depth interviews with key MHM stakeholders, the Capstone team created a report that identifies the facilitators and barriers to implementing MHM interventions, particularly in Zambia, and recommends what intervention(s) in particular warrant prioritization by a research institute like Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA). This research is intended to be used by IPA to inform their current programming and serves as a foundation for IPA to carry out larger-scale empirical research on potential MHM interventions.