youth starts menstrual hygiene management AND SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE after urban nexus training

Shula, a 19-year-old, is a Klender (East Jakarta) youth representative who joins Plan Indonesia's Urban Nexus programme activities. In 2021, she joined Urban Nexus's series of peer educator training, including the Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) training. Through the Urban Nexus training, Shula and the other youth participants started discussing menstruation myths and facts. They learned that a woman must keep her body clean and healthy, especially when menstruating.

Shula, a 19-year-old, is a Klender (East Jakarta) youth representative who joins Yayasan Plan International Indonesia (Plan Indonesia)’s Urban Nexus programme activities. In 2021, she joined Urban Nexus’s series of peer educator training, including the Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) training.

“For a long time, my family has believed that if a woman is menstruating, she cannot wash her hair. A woman only can wash her hair when the menstrual period is over. My family has believed this myth for generations. My mother also never washes her hair during menstruation. I usually wash and dry my hair secretly, so my parents don’t scold me,” Shula said.

There are many myths about menstruation in Indonesia. Among the myths is that a woman should not cut her nails, wash her hair, drink ice, eat meat, pineapple, and cucumber. People have internalised these myths for a long time.

However, through the Urban Nexus training, Shula and the other youth participants started discussing menstruation myths and facts. They learned that a woman must keep her body clean and healthy, especially when menstruating.

“After the training, I conveyed this to my parents, and I’m so happy because they can understand that it’s just a myth. Now I’m free to wash my hair and not worry about being scolded again. My mother also washes her hair when she is menstruating now. I hope that more girls and mothers will know this information so that they will be healthier and hygienic,” Shula said.

Apart from learning more about MHM, Shula has also begun to understand the relations between MHM and climate change. She discovered that she could contribute to more sustainable earth by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and ensuring proper waste management–including waste produced during the menstrual cycle. Shula has started a new sustainable way of living with this new knowledge. The Urban Nexus participant has begun to bring her cutleries and water bottle to minimise plastic waste and sort waste to make it easier to recycle them. Shula will also learn more about the sustainable lifestyle as she the peer educator activities. Since 2019, Plan Indonesia’s has been implementing the Urban Nexus programme to ensure resilience and disaster risk management for youth in Klender and Krendang, Jakarta. This programme also aims to empower youth to become leaders in climate change actions.