Schooling, Stigma and Periods Among Adolescent Girls in Eastern Africa

Investigators: CDEP Affiliate Anja Benshual-Tolonen

There is extensive qualitative and quantitative evidence from sub-Saharan Africa that lack of menstruation hygiene management (MHM) can adversely impact the human capital formation of young girls. Few research studies employ robust quantitative techniques, especially in contrast to the extensive body of qualitative evidence on the topic, to unpack these barriers faced by adolescent girls in developing countries. This project contains several research papers: 

1. Does menstrual hygiene education for girls and boys changes girls’ wellbeing? What is the role of stigmas surrounding menstruation? In particular, we ask “Under what conditions do social stigmas change? What is the importance of stigmas on adolescent girls’ wellbeing?”. We will be the first to bring influential novel concepts from behavior economics to the topic of MHM in developing countries. Joint with Sandra Aguilar-Gomez and Naomi Batzer.

2. A randomized control trial in Kenya aimed at understanding the role that lack of access to suitable sanitary products results in absences from primary school. A cluster pilot RCT was run across 30 schools in Western Kenya. (Working Paper available here). Joint with Penelope Phillips-Howard, Garazi Zulaika et al. 

3. The Cost-Benefit and Cost-Effectiveness of Menstual Cups and Sanitary Pads to Schoolgirls in Rural Kenya. Joint with Masih A Babagoli, Garazi Zulaika, Elizabeth Nyothach, Clifford Oduor, David Obor, Linda Mason, Emily Kerubo, Isaac Ngere, Kayla F. Laserson, Rhiannon Tudor Edwards, Penelope A Phillips-Howard (Working Paper available here).

This project is part of CDEP's Human Capital Initiative.