Stayfree & UNICEF reinforce commitment to “Paheli ki Saheli”

May 25, 2018: Johnson & Johnson’s leading sanitary napkin brand ‘Stayfree’ and UNICEF today reinforced their commitment to improve menstrual health and hygiene management among adolescent girls. The six-year old partnership, has focused on creating innovative communication tools to educate girls on menstrual hygiene.

“Paheli kiSaheli” is an effective tool for adolescent girls, mothers and teachers. It isnot just a story based illustrated flipbook but also contains 5 short films of5 minutes each, riddles, activity based games. In short an entertainmenteducation package to explain what menstruation. 

Thepartnership focused on understanding key barriers to menstrual hygienemanagement. It demonstrated how different social and behavior changeinterventions such as interpersonal communication, social mobilization andmedia-based activities among key stakeholders enhance knowledge, changeattitudes, build skills and encourage positive behaviors at individual, familyand community levels. is, why it happens and how to manage it hygienically.

The findingsof the research conducted in the programmed area showed 93% girls missed atleast one or two days of school on an average due to discomfort caused fromperiods. But access to sanitary napkins, information and knowledge on menstrualhygiene showed an immediate impact on school attendance as 97% approved ofattending school during menstruation. The results have been spectacular amongstcommunity members, adolescent girls, mothers, front line workers, and teachers. In the districts where Paheli ki Saheli was implemented, a significant changein menstrual hygiene practices and therefore improvement in confidence amongstadolescent girls, was observed. 74% girls in Bihar and 76% girls in Jharkhandused pads and cloth, up from 50% Bihar and 46% Jharkhand in 2013. Adolescentgirls adopted better disposal practices and they were empowered to speak openlyand negotiate for better health and hygiene, while mothers and teachers alsospoke freely about the issue.  

Estimatessuggest that close to 110 million adolescent girls in India lack knowledge ofmenstrual hygiene and disposal practices, adversely affecting their educationand health.  Indian Council for Medical Research 2011-12 report statesthat only 38 per cent menstruating girls in India spoke to their mothers aboutmenstruation. A 2015 survey by the Ministry of Education found that in 63%schools in villages, teachers never discussed menstruation and how to deal withit in a hygienic manner. It is the endeavor of this partnership to spread theimpactful communication toolkit “ Paheli Ki Saheli” with a larger audiencewhose lives can improve with meaningful menstrual education. Paheli ki Saheliis included in Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK), the national healthprogramme targeting adolescents ages 10-19. It is an open resource and isavailable in the public domain ( and Stayfree India Youtube Channel. 

DimpleSidhar, Vice President, Marketing, Johnson & Johnson India, said “We atStayfree believe that every girl deserves to have the opportunity to build afuture that she wants. But without education, this is little more than just adream. Research has shown that more girls drop out of school due to lack ofknowledge on menstrual hygiene and sanitation facilities. We, at Stayfree havebeen continuously working towards bringing about a behavioral change withadolescent girls. And our partnership with UNICEF continues to address thisreality, through educating young girls. “Paheli ki Saheli” is our effort inproviding education and awareness to enable girls in India not to miss theirschool”. 

Dr YasminAli Haque, Representative UNICEF India shared “It is just not right thatadolescent girls feel the need to miss school due to the pain or stainassociated with menstruation. The partnership with Stayfree has created robustcommunication tools which have equipped girls and people in their ecosystemwith necessary life skills on managing this issue” 

Amrita Kumari:

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