Think Learn & Perform (TLP)

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Day 55 – Case Study Q 1

1. You are posted as the block development officer in a district. Menstruation is a taboo in one of the villages of the district and people hardly talk about it. In fact, menstruating women aren’t even allowed to enter temples and are forced to sleep on the floor. Women use clothes as they can’t afford sanitary napkins or are too shy to buy it from the general store. When a renowned NGO attempted to spread awareness towards hygiene during menstruation by talking to the local women, the villagers created ruckus and forced the representatives of the NGO to leave. Further attempts by the NGO to approach the women was thwarted by the Gram Panchayat. The women of the village have been warned by their family members to stay away from such discussions and maintain their dignity.

The NGO brings the issue to your notice and asks for your support. Now answer the following questions:

  1. What in your opinion is is the main reason behind villagers protesting?  
  2. What steps would you take to address the issue?  

Stake holders in this issue:

  • BDO: Block Development Officer.
  • Villagers: Includes both Male and Female along with Gram Panchayat.
  • NGO: NGO, who is involved in spreading awareness.

What in your opinion is the main reason behind villagers protesting?  

There is no one single reason but a combination of reasons behind villagers protesting:

  • Purity: Menstruating women are seen as impure due to several social and cultural customs.
  • Patriarchy: In a society where patriarchy exists, women are required to stay inside house and not discuss anything related to their health or body with outsiders.
  • Cultural norms: In parts of India, menstruating women are not supposed to enter Kitchen or temple and sleep on floor during those days due to cultural norms.
  • Awareness: Lack of awareness about need for hygiene and related infections which are detrimental to health of women and children in house.

What steps would you take to address the issue?  

There is no particular way for this question. You can give your own ways but it should be practical. Don’t go for superficial options.

For instance:

  • ASHA Workers: Since majority of them are local women, you can ask ASHA workers to accompany the NGO people.
  • Co-operative societies: If there any co-operative societies in the village which are primarily run by women, then making them the stakeholders in issue and going through them.
  • Gram Panchayat Members: First meeting the gram panchayat members and trying to convince them. Take them into confidence and involve them in the issue. In case they are male then try to take help from women members of their family.
  • Elders in village: Village has a mix of various castes and religions. So try to meet village elders and community leaders and convince them about the health issue and hygiene issue.
  • School and Colleges: Try to reach out to schools and colleges in vicinity of village. Talk to teachers and female students and try to spread information through them. Also can involve them to carry out door to door awareness.

Try to include example of Arunachalam Muruganantham.

Note: Remember it will take time to solve these type of issues and quick results cannot be expected. So try to give long term and collective strategy than going for short term.

Best Answer: No best Answer.

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