Training of Trainers Program
Training of trainers program
Menstruation is typically poorly addressed if not completely neglected in education. As a result of a lack of accurate and timely information, girls suffer from anxiety and shame creating conditions for unsafe and unhygienic menstrual practices which compromise reproductive health and reduced participation in life. This is all unnecessary and can be easily mitigated by appropriate education early on.
To address this gap – which can have far reaching consequences when neglected – Eco Femme has developed educational modules which it is ready to offer training in.
Who do we train?
- Organisations who partner with us in the Pad for Pad program who primarily work with adolescent girls who are from economically disadvantaged settings wish to conduct introductory menstrual health education sessions
- Organisations who partner with us in the Pads for Sisters program who primarily work with marginalised women who are interested in offering sustainable menstrual product options
- Individuals not currently associated with our programs but who would like to conduct educational programs in their communities on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM)
What is covered in the training?
Training programs will always be somewhat tailored to the setting and unique needs of each organisation but essentially aim to create a normalizing, positive outlook on menstruation through providing accurate and relatable information, replacing silence with conversation, and giving facilitators the capacity to instruct a session providing girls and women with the confidence, knowledge, and tools to manage their periods healthily and with dignity.
The core elements of our training programs are:
- How to talk about menstruation: giving guidance to new facilitators about how to engage with women and girls on what is typically a sensitive topic – includes activities for getting comfortable with your own experience of menstruation so as to be able to communicate with confidence and sensitivity.
- Cultural practices and how to relate to them: Menstrual taboos arise from complex systems and are not always simply ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Concentrate on explaining which practices are unsafe and on providing a chance to inquire into the roots of these practices which are often adopted without real choice
- Understanding the function of the reproductive system and learning about the menstrual cycle and how to track it.
- Normal and abnormal periods: includes understanding the different types of cervical mucus and vaginal discharge and recognising indicators for when to seek help.
- Self care: the role of nutrition, exercise and personal hygiene
- Products to manage menstruation: examines the pros and cons of various menstrual products and disposal. Special attention is given to reusable menstrual products like cloth pads and menstrual cups and their safe use and proper care to ensure healthy menstruation
Some organisations are particularly interested in how to introduce cloth pads to women for the first time. As a new concept to most people, we have discovered through trial and error a simple process for introducing cloth pads and providing optimal conditions to help women adapt to this product and create the conditions to spread its adoption throughout the community – we can provide guidance and training in this process that includes how to conduct baseline surveys and product analysis. For more information please see Pads for Sisters
How do training sessions happen
Training sessions are typically conducted in small groups and a minimum of 1 day is recommended in order to give participants time to try out the different teaching processes and ask questions. Whenever possible we also recommend organising a session with a group of girls or women where we can demonstrate the teaching process and coach new facilitators. Ideally we will send a facilitator to your place for the training however if you already have some experience or travel is not possible we can also conduct remote call trainings.
Eco Femme facilitators are fluent in English and Tamil and we can also offer remote training Hindi.
We have a facilitator guide for sessions for adolescent girls (which can be adapted if the target audience is women).
We also have a facilitator kit which contains:
- a soft hand knitted uterus model (we call it the “cuterus”:)
- flipcharts that have A3 size, laminated images of the reproductive system (different views), menstrual cycle fertility chart and calendar for demonstrating cycle tracking and a chart showing different times for breakdown of household waste (including sanitary napkins)
- Samples of various menstrual products to demonstrate including cloth pads, old cloth, menstrual cup, tampon and menstrual cup
We have also collated many research documents and resources which help answer frequently asked questions and help facilitators deepen their knowledge on all things menstruation related!
While our programs focus on the needs of women and girls, we also recognise that there is a great need to ensure boys and men are included in the conversation about menstruation and are well informed. Like the evolution of all our programs, they develop over time through action research and we have not had so much experience with education for men and boys around menstruation. We hope to take this up more deliberately in the coming months and years and develop approaches that are effective.
For more information about our training programs please contact [email protected]