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In the field of international development, little research has been conducted on the management of menstrual hygiene. Catholic Relief Services selected Forcier to accomplish one of the largest studies on knowledge, attitudes, environment, and practices regarding menstruation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The overall objective was to determine whether menstrual management practices have an impact on school absenteeism for girls, and to evaluate how the Congolese government’s “Healthy Schools and Villages” program, supported by UNICEF, can contribute to improving menstrual hygiene management.


Study on Menstrual Hygiene Context

Catholic Relief Services

April 2016 - September 2016

What Forcier Did:

Data was collected by local Forcier enumerators in the provinces of Kinshasa and Haut-Katanga, as well as in camps for internally displaced persons in North-Kivu - thereby allowing for an analysis in urban, rural, and emergency contexts. Forcier put forth a holistically designed mixed-methods approach for this research. In order to garner a broad understanding of the different barriers menstrual hygiene can represent for women, it was essential to collect information from various groups of people. The research, made up of 3,623 quantitative interviews and 60 Focus Groups, identified the main obstacles preventing girls in the DRC from meeting their menstrual hygiene needs.

Population Interviewed:

In total, 2,601 quantitative surveys were conducted with 10 to 17 year old girls and their female guardians, and 1022 quantitative surveys were conducted with 10 to 17 year old boys. Additionally, 60 Focus Group Discussions were conducted with girls, fathers of girls, teachers, community leaders and health practitioners to provide complementary qualitative information. To ask questions to 10 to 15 year old girls in camps for displaced persons - an especially vulnerable population - child psychiatrists used dice games to make them more comfortable discussing these issues and to overcome taboos about menses. Analysis was conducted by triangulating the quantitative and qualitative data collected, as well as information garnered through a thorough literature review.

Methodological Summary


Quantitative interviews conducted 


Quantitative surveys conducted with 10-17 year old boys


Focus Group Discussions conducted with girls 


Focus Group Discussions with project beneficiaries 

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