Department of Women's Studies, Bharathidasan University, on Thursday hit the ground running for preparing a trainers' manual on promotion of sustainable menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls with a two-day workshop involving school students, doctors, psychologists, representatives of non-government organisations engaged in production of sanitary napkins, school teachers, Anganwadi workers, village health nurses and members of women self help groups.

The manual that will be prepared based on the feedback from the participants at the UNICEF-sponsored workshop will be handed over to policy makers for broad-basing the training of adolescent girls, rural women and others to create awareness of menstrual hygiene. The manual will contain scientific inputs on the growth process of adolescent girls, diet and nutrition requirements and the importance of using napkins, said Professor and Director, Department of Women's Studies, N. Manimekalai. “Incidentally, Tiruchi was among the 10 districts in Tamil Nadu identified by the Centre for implementing the scheme of distributing napkins under National Rural Health Mission for girls in adolescent age,” she said.

The manual was vital for communicating the intended message, K. Meena, Vice-Chancellor, said, suggesting that catchy slogans be coined in Tamil for wider reach. Women need physical and moral strength to withstand stress, said Dr. Meena.

She favoured devotion of specific durations for awareness creation with the manual by students of women's colleges as part of NSS activities. Public feedback should be obtained based on which the initiative could be fine-tuned, the Vice-Chancellor said. As part of the UNICEF project, the incubation project for manufacture of napkins would be commissioned on September 15, she added. The Treasurer of District Welfare Committee, ‘Sevai' Govindarajan, handed over Rs. 50,000 to Dr. Meena as first phase of assistance for the project implementation on behalf of ‘Vizhudugal,' a federation of women self-help groups. Presiding over, Soulina Arnold, Executive Director, Tamil Nadu Voluntary Health Association, Chennai, felt certain that with the right intervention strategies, the initiative would serve the purpose of turning menstrual hygiene into a mass movement.