The project will consist of three main components.  First which is SEIs contribution, is to  synthesize current knowledge about women’s menstrual management practices globally, and how these practices interact with sanitation systems.  The objective of this component of the project is to describe, and to the extent possible quantify, the importance of accommodating menstrual management practices and needs when designing healthy and sustainable sanitation systems in low-resource settings.

Second, to address the lack of existing research on women’s menstrual management, and in particular the interaction of these behaviors with sanitation systems, detailed case studies will be conducted in two to three urban locations, each chosen to represent a promising sanitation system.

An understanding of women’s preferences concerning menstrual management options and their willingness to pay for alternative products are critical for projecting the evolution of menstrual practices and associated impacts on sanitation systems.  The third component of the study will consist of a randomized product dissemination and demand trial, through which women in two of the case study sites will be offered the opportunity to test and then purchase alternative menstrual management products (MMPs).

Project findings will be disseminated to sanitation utility managers, with whom the project team will collaborate closely on the case studies, and to sanitation system users through educational materials specifically prepared for these audiences.  Policy and academic communities will be reached through web-based dissemination of the final project report and policy briefs, and through conference presentations and publications of findings in academic journals. We will also reach out to MMP designers, manufacturers and distributors in the private sector. The private sector is expected to play a critical role in developing MMPs appropriate to low-resource settings, and in making these available to women.  Creating knowledge that serves as an input to private sector innovation and expansion into new markets is a key goal of the proposed project.

This project will be conducted in collaboration with University of Maryland , University of Colombia, PATH, University of Kwa Zulu Natal , Mt Hoylouke.