See teaching girls in India to make washable pads (here, too) - Nineteenth-century Norwegian washable pads - Italian washable pad, probably from the 1890s
See Chinese belts and pads, from 2000 and 2005. - Chinese pad and panty pad - Japanese pad, older
More belt topics
Many American belts - See how women wore a belt (and in a Swedish ad). See a modern belt for a washable pad and a page from the 1946-47 Sears catalog showing a great variety - ad for Hickory belts, 1920s? - Modess belts in Personal Digest (1966) - drawing for a proposed German belt and pad, 1894 - ads for early 20th-century Japanese belts - belts and washable pads from the 1902 and 1908 Sears, Roebuck catalogs - belt from Jordan, Marsh & Co. catalog, Boston, 1891 - German belt (from Bilz), about 1890
Suspenders to hold pads (U.S.A., 19th century)
Snap-on style washable pad -Washable pad with belt - See how women wear a belt with a pad - see a Swedish ad showing a belt and pad - German pattern for washable pads, probably before 1900 - And see a menstrual sponge
DIRECTORY of all topics (See also the SEARCH ENGINE, bottom of page.)
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
homepage | LIST OF ALL TOPICS | MUM address & What does MUM mean? | e-mail the museum | privacy on this site | who runs this museum?? |
Amazing women! | the art of menstruation | artists (non-menstrual) | asbestos | belts | bidets | founder bio | Bly, Nellie | MUM board | books: menstruation and menopause (and reviews) | cats | company booklets for girls (mostly) directory | contraception and religion | costumes | menstrual cups | cup usage | dispensers | douches, pain, sprays | essay directory | extraction | facts-of-life booklets for girls | famous women in menstrual hygiene ads | FAQ | founder/director biography | gynecological topics by Dr. Soucasaux | humor | huts | links | masturbation | media coverage of MUM | menarche booklets for girls and parents | miscellaneous | museum future | Norwegian menstruation exhibit | odor | olor | pad directory | patent medicine | poetry directory | products, current | puberty booklets for girls and parents | religion | Religión y menstruación | your remedies for menstrual discomfort | menstrual products safety | science | Seguridad de productos para la menstruación | shame | slapping, menstrual | sponges | synchrony | tampon directory | early tampons | teen ads directory | tour of the former museum (video) | underpants & panties directory | videos, films directory | Words and expressions about menstruation | Would you stop menstruating if you could? | What did women do about menstruation in the past? | washable pads
Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.

Menstrual Hygiene and Management in Developing Countries: Taking Stock,
November 2004
Page 3
(Pages 1 - 2)

By Sowmyaa Bharadwaj andArchana Patkar


Lakshmi Murthy, works with Vikalp Design an NGO working in Udaipur specialises in communication for reproductive health to rural people. She initiated a series of workshops where she went into rural areas, explaining how women could use washable pads. She used a doll to demonstrate the use of this method and this proved to be quite successful. HYPERLINK "" [from MUM: also see teaching girls in India] TAMIL NADU

In a move to encourage schoolgirls in rural areas to continue school after puberty, the rural development department of the state government of Tamil Nadu initiated a project to motivate them to use sanitary napkins. Officials at the rural development department found that the cost factor of popular brands of napkins discouraged adolescent girls from using napkins, so they had to depend on improvised material, but which would not be very effective. Even if they used napkins, safe disposal of it could be a problem. So, the girls simply skipped classes on those days at the cost of their studies. Keeping all these in mind, the department, with the help of UNICEF, trained 360 Self-Help Groups (SHGs) in napkin production. SHGs in 18 districts make and sell the napkins at a cost of Rs 20 per packet. Their products do seem to sell well, thus enabling them to make some money. All the 1.5 lakh SHGs in the state have been roped in for promotion of sanitary pads among rural girls. Besides, for safe disposal of used napkins, the UNICEF had designed a low-cost incinerator, costing Rs 1,500, with a facility to burn them by using firewood. It has suggested construction of toilets exclusively for girls in schools and also women sanitary complexes in rural areas. Accordingly, the rural development department recently conducted a workshop in Vellore on the low-cost incinerator technology for 15 SHGs. Incinerators have been installed in 341 toilet complexes and 33 girls' toilets in schools so far in the state.


Sayahog initiated a programme of Washable pads for women in Almora, Uttar Pradesh with the long term aim of ensuring them greater freedom. Women prior to this, initiative would sit in a cow shed during their period. Part of the work of Sayahog was to make women realize that the blood doesn't come out of their bodies inherently polluted or smelling. They used the simple logic of asking women what a piece of meat would smell like after it has been sitting in the sun for a week. This then encouraged women to try out using sanitary pads that were essentially sifted wood ash wrapped in a cloth. Wood ash is readily available, absorbs odours, and can easily be thrown out into the woods or fields when the pad has been used. This disguised their menstruation, allowing them to pursue normal activities, at least for part of their period.


Dr Nirmala Ganla, a gynaecologist from Pune, encourages the vermi-composting of all the waste from her own hospital, including sanitary napkins. They have been successful in transforming their hospital waste to rich compost fertiliser for the past several years.

The 28th WEDC Conference, 2002, had invited a Ms. Patel to present a paper on menstrual hygiene and management. Although we were unable to trace a formal record of this paper from either WEDC or the All India Institute of Hygiene and public health in Calcutta ­ several colleagues attended this presented which described a pilot experiment in peri-urban Maharashtra to dispose of sanitary towels. The initiative consisted of simple adjustments to latrine designs to introduce a shoulder level chute, perfectly angled to ensure that the napkins fall directly into a deep pit dug for this purpose. A low-cost chemical agent added a few times a month ensured speedy decomposition. The concept as presented by Ms. Patel is reproduced in the figure below. We are however unable to furnish contact details at this time.





ActionAid ­ HYPERLINK ""


CARE (in the SAFER Programme) -

Feroz Ahmed ­ a professor at ITN - HYPERLINK "" HYPERLINK "" , HYPERLINK "", HYPERLINK ""

Naripokho - HYPERLINK "",

Rita Afsar (a senior professor at BUET University) - Director, Advisory, Extension & Research Service (DAERS): HYPERLINK "" 

WaterAid -





Oxfam: online enquiry form filled


Socio-Economic Welfare Action for Women in Nepal (SEWA) - HYPERLINK ""

WaterAid: HYPERLINK ""



All Pakistan Women's Association - HYPERLINK ""

Shirkat Gah (Women's Resource Centre) - HYPERLINK "" HYPERLINK ""

Institute of Women's Studies, Lahore -


Sri Lanka

COSI Foundation for technical co-operation (Ms. Palitha Jayaweera) ­

Muslim Women's Research and Action Forum -

Sri Lanka Women's NGO forum - HYPERLINK ""

Voice of Women - HYPERLINK ""



AASRA (Advocacy for Alternatives Sexuality Reproductive Health & AIDS) - HYPERLINK ""

Action Aid India -


Center for Action Research & Development Initiative(CARDI) -


Kalpavriksh - HYPERLINK ""

SevaMandir ­


Socio Economic Unit Foundation - HYPERLINK "", HYPERLINK ""

Toxic Links ­


Organisations - India

All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health -

All India Institute of Local Self Government ­

Centre for Environment Education - HYPERLINK ""

Centre for Science and environment ­

Mumbai MedWaste Action Group - HYPERLINK ""

Sulabh International - HYPERLINK "", HYPERLINK "",   HYPERLINK ""



Winrock - HYPERLINK ""


Documentation Centres

Centre for Education and Documentation - HYPERLINK "", HYPERLINK ""

Centre for Women's Development Studies ­ HYPERLINK "", HYPERLINK ""

Elsevier's Women's Health Resource Online - HYPERLINK ""




Organisations ­ Worldwide

Asia Pacific Women's Watch (APWW) - HYPERLINK ""

Asian Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW) ­KL - HYPERLINK "",

GreenPeace - HYPERLINK ""

International Women's Rights Action Watch - Asia Pacific - HYPERLINK ""

IRC-Source Editor Dick DeJong-form online

Museum of Menstruation - HYPERLINK ""

Water Aid ­

Women's Environment & Development Organization (WEDO), New York- HYPERLINK "",



AWID - ''; '', HYPERLINK "",


Source - '', '','



Water and Sanitation & Health Professionals

Alison Wedgewood -

Annemieke de los Santos, UNFPA Bangladesh­ HYPERLINK ""

Ashish Mishra -

Atul Shahade -

Caroline Moser, Overseas Development Institute - HYPERLINK ""

Carolyn Stephens, London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine - HYPERLINK ""

Christine Nare -

David Satterthwaite, IIED ­

Diana Mitlin, IIED - HYPERLINK ""

Dr. Balachandra Kurup -

Dr. Francis Watkins -

Dr. Kamal Kar -

Hazel Slavin ­;

Kathy Shordt - HYPERLINK ""

Lakshmi Lingam - HYPERLINK "", HYPERLINK ""

Lakshmi Murthy ­ HYPERLINK ""

Lina Payne -

Padmaja Nair ­

Padmaja Pai ­ HYPERLINK "",

Rokeya Ahmed - HYPERLINK ""

Sandy Cairncross, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, HYPERLINK ""

Shankar Talwar -

Sheela Patel (SPARC) - HYPERLINK ""

Sheridan Bartlett- HYPERLINK ""

Suzanne Hanchett ­



JunctionSocial has a database of about 2500 books, journals and reports which we reviewed for this study. This was supplemented by an exhaustive internet search.

Our literature review included key annual development publications by international agencies such as The World Development Report (1995 onwards), The State of the World's Children, The State of the World's Population, National and State Human Development Reports, World Health Report, Water and Sanitation in the World Cities, The Challenge of Slums, National Family Health Surveys and others. Some of the categories under which our desk review was conducted are listed below.



Reproductive Health

Adolescent and Child health


Water, Sanitation & Hygiene


Social Marketing

School Sanitation

Solid Waste Disposal

Hygiene Promotion & Behaviour Change

Government, Community and private participation


Gender, Adolescents and Child Rights



Access to services

Water and sanitation

Voice and participation


Policy, Planning and Investments


Water Supply

Environmental Health

Environmental Sanitation

Gender, Adolescent Programming

The Human Waste March, 2002, A report by WaterAid and the TearFund

Social Development Adviser DFIDB ­ Mahmuda Rahman Khan and Social Development Link Consultant to DFIDB - Archana Patkar

Please contact us on HYPERLINK "" for web links. The bibliography is growing everyday and we welcome additions from our readers.



Junction Social

Social Development Consultants

201A Gagangiri, 10 Carter Road, Khar,

Mumbai 400 052, INDIA

Tel: +91 22 26040874/26044934


Menstrual Waste Disposal

"The general practice that people are comfortable with is to dispose of menstruation waste in toilets or rubbish bins. Some also prefer burning them. The rural women respondents usually rinse the blood first before disposing. The reason behind this is the belief that blood is sacred and it should not be left around in the open."

"The disposal of menstruation protection seems to be influenced by location. Women dispose of this differently depending or where they are at the time. For instance, their behaviour when they are at home is different than when they are in public places. When in public places, the behaviour of rural people who are accustomed to throwing products in the pit, changes according to the toilet type used. For instance, when they are in a place using flush toilets, they flush the products in the toilet. When it does not flush, they take it out, wrap it with toilet paper and throw it in the dustbin inside the toilet. There are those who also say that they wrap it and carry it home with them and dispose it in their pit toilets. In the suburbs and formal townships the common behaviour seems to be throwing them in the bin or flushing them down the toilet and sometimes it gets burned when at home."

Tebogo Molefe (Social Surveys), Jenny Appleton (Partners in Development)

Research into Hygienic and Acceptable Disposal of Waste Generated during Menstruation and Sexual Activities, National Sanitation Coordinating Office,

March 2001

Add Chemical Agent


201A Gagangiri, 10 Carter Road, Khar, Mumbai 400 052, INDIA

Tel: +91-22 -26040874/26044934; Email:

1 - 2

See teaching girls in India to make washable pads (here, too) - Nineteenth-century Norwegian washable pads - Italian washable pad, probably from the 1890s

© 2004 Harry Finley. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute any of the work on this Web site in any manner or medium without written permission of the author. Please report suspected violations to