A field- based initiative on menstrual hygiene management like Breaking the Silence Worldwide Foundation had to call off events, trainings and outreach following Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown in India called from 24 March 2020 onwards. Fortunately, the NGO has been conducting successful social media and media campaigns since 2014 so it was not a major challenge to continue its work on women’s health and conducted a nationwide MHM Quiz through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram between 24th April till 24th May.
On International Menstrual Hygiene Day 28th May 2020 names of the winners were announced and prizes and certificates given to them. The certificates were co-signed by Urmila Chanam, Founder of Breaking the Silence Worldwide Foundation and Sharon Mather, co-Founder of Voices of Women Worldwide and VOWW TV.
The purpose of the MHM Quiz was to develop curiosity in persons from all genders, help people check their information level and help them take the first step in ‘breaking the culture of shame and silence’ on menstruation by bringing it to the public domain. Who is being impacted by such an initiative? Girls, boys, women and men on social media and who have access to digital technology.
A large percentage of participants and winners came from different districts of Manipur from both genders while other states also saw good representation. Female and male participation in the menstrual hygiene management 10-questions test was 60.24% and 39.76% respectively.
The winners of MHM Quiz are Lenin Chanam from Yairipok in Thoubal district, Premila Lamabam from Nagamapal in Imphal West district, Hechin Haokip from Pallel in Tengnoupal district, Chinglenkhomba Naorem from Kakching district, Manipur, Khomoidar Ronglo, Anuhya Korrapati from Bengaluru, Karnataka, Limasangla Jamir from Dimapur, Nagaland, Sivakami Muthusamy from Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra and Karan Babbar from Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
Many participants expressed excitedness over the competition where male participants also got involved with ease because Breaking the Silence program involves men from the start through its Men Take Lead Ride program. Two school students participated; Ningombam Bijyalaxmi, a female student of class 11 and Sailesh Ningthoujam, a male student of class 8 both from Imphal, Manipur. Few participants expressed the need for such educative and engaging online quiz and program that engages all the genders and not just women.
Winner Premila Lamabam from Imphal, Manipur on receiving the prize said, “Participating was a great experience. Thank you for such a beautiful opportunity. But, being thankful isn’t enough, and I pledge to honour the knowledge and encouragement I got to spread the awareness and breaking those old myths around menstruation amongst people in the society.”
Another winner Sivakami Muthusamy from Mumbai said, “I work in Tata Institute of Social Sciences and I participated because menstrual hygiene management is close to my heart. Winning or losing does not matter honestly. I felt the urge to participate to generate the attention.”
Winner Karan Babbar from Ahmedabad, Gujarat who is a PhD student from IIM Ahmedabad said, “This is indeed one of my great achievements.”
Breaking the Silence Worldwide has been mobilizing interest and participation on menstrual hygiene management since 2014 and will be launching its next mega competition on 1st July 2020 through social media and everyone is invited to participate. These online events are aimed to build menstrual hygiene management champions and advocates cutting across age groups and genders.