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Research team looking for input

July 15, 2011


We are a research team headed by Dr. Marni Sommer of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and we are conducting a global review of what is being done in emergency settings (post-conflict/post-disaster) around menstrual-hygiene management (MHM).  As there is not a great deal in the literature about this topic, we are hoping to gather information from experts in the field who have first-hand experience of what has been done, or who have recommendations of what should be done.  We very much appreciate your insights into these questions.

1)      In your experience, how often have humanitarian responses included attention to adolescent girls’ and women’s menstrual needs (or only to one group and not the other, if that was the case), and what have these responses included?  (e.g. pads, cloth, underwear, adequate latrines, water, etc.—or only one or two aspects of the MHM needs of girls/women)?

2)      How did the humanitarian response teams assess girls’ and women’s MHM-related needs (pads, cloths, toilets, water)? Did they base their decisions on Sphere or other guidelines? Did they conduct interviews, focus groups, or a survey? Did they use a rapid assessment questionnaire? If so, could you share a copy of the questions with us?

3)       Are there any further written documents—such as reports, assessments, or articles—that you would recommend we follow up with to learn more about the response? (If they are internal or unpublished documents—would it be possible to send a copy to Dr. Sommer?)  Are there any additional organizations or further people to contact that you would recommend we follow up with to learn more about the response?

4)      In your experience, what are some of the gaps or areas for improvement in the humanitarian response to MHM in post-conflict/post-disaster settings?  What would be some of your recommendations for how best to respond to girls’ and women’s MHM-related needs in humanitarian emergencies?

Please feel free to contact Marni Sommer at Columbia University ( if you think of any additional thoughts, experiences, recommendations, or contacts you would like to convey.  Many thanks again for your kind assistance with these questions.

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