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ELRHA Wash Innovation Challenge: Safe, Dignified and Inclusive Menstrual Hygiene Management Programming in Emergencies


In an emergency setting, women and girls often lack access to adequate menstrual supplies or materials, private and safe water and toilet facilities for changing and bathing, or spaces and mechanisms for privately washing, drying or disposing of used materials.

All of these constraints can lead to poor MHM and significant health and psychosocial implications for women and girls including social exclusion and vulnerability. Lacking access to safe and private spaces to manage menstruation can also increase exposure to the risk of sexual violence and exploitation in humanitarian settings.


With nearly half of displaced populations consisting of women and girls, there is a growing urgency for the humanitarian community to better address such gender-specific needs. As part of our new strategy and ambition to be a responsive and adaptive actor in the humanitarian system, we are focusing this Challenge on tackling three elements of this systemic problem.

  • Lack of prioritisation of MHM – While MHM initiatives, tools and guidance are gradually emerging, there are still significant challenges when it comes to humanitarian practitioners implementing even basic MHM practice. There is a need for initiatives that are able to shift prevailing attitudes, behaviours and practices within the humanitarian sector and drive the importance of MHM programming.

  • Lack of acceptable MHM spaces – The recent focus on MHM programming has centred mostly around the availability of relevant menstrual materials and supplies. While this is important, it is also insufficient. Women and girls need safe and culturally-specific spaces where they can dispose of or wash and dry menstrual materials in privacy.

  • Limited MHM waste management solutions – The disposal of used menstrual materials is a growing and complex challenge as it is dependent on socio-cultural norms and taboos related to menstruation and menstrual blood, as well as on the types of menstrual materials used in an emergency. We need new, safe, discreet and environmentally-friendly solutions for managing MHM waste.


Across all three Calls, we’re looking for innovative solutions that bring together interdisciplinary teams. We encourage applicants to think holistically about their chosen Call in the broader context of MHM programming. To facilitate this, we expect to support coordination and learning between the grantees of the three distinct Calls:

  • Shifting Humanitarian Norms: Prioritising Mhm

  • Designing Better Mhm Spaces

  • Solving Mhm Waste Management

For more information and to apply, please click here.