2021 Equality, Health and Social Protection Mapping

Mapping of Swedish Aid Addressing Menstruation

Elin Bergenlöv

During the last ten years, the issue of menstruation has received increasing attention in Swedish development cooperation. However, an overall picture of the extent to which menstruation is addressed in Swedish aid is absent. The aim of this study is therefore to map menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) interventions in Swedish development cooperation. The study maps contributions and interventions by analysing public policy documents, annual reports, data from OECD/DAC, Open aid and Sida’s CSO database. It also draws on informative dialogues with relevant stakeholders.

Main findings

  1. Approximately 36,5 million USD has been invested in contributions related to menstruation since 2013. However, many contributions are not reported. This gives the impression of fewer contributions than actually implemented.
  2. In development cooperation, menstruation should not just be treated as a biological phenomenon, but also as a social function. Menstruation is a matter of policy development and self-determination, equality and autonomy for women and for sustainable development. Hence, it should overlap sectors such as health, gender equality, economy, security, and education.
  3. The types of contributions that exist for menstrual health vary. Countries and stakeholders choose to approach menstruation, knowledge, and the existing stigma in different ways. However, a common approach among the contributions seem to be the inclusion of men and boys in the movement.

Author
Elin Bergenlöv, Politices Masters degree, Stockholm University, former dep. Program manager at the EBA