Menstruation, which at first seem to be a private matter of girls and women, has become a part of the global agenda in international development. The issue even has a label “menstrual hygiene management (MHM)” and is involving various stakeholders. The objective of this special issue is to capture the development of MHM assistance, and illustrate the local realities from four different areas based on fieldwork. The cases focus on schools and adolescent school girls in Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and Nicaragua. Japanese anthropologists, who have worked in each respective country for decades as researchers, and some as practitioners as well, are reporting each case within its local context. By comparing the four cases, it reveals how different (yet in some aspects how similar) the situations are and how important it is to understand each local context when a global recipe is applied to an area.
In this first paper here below, I will focus on outlining the recent development of MHM in the international society. After clarifying the multiple aspects of menstruation, I will explain the common definition of MHM used in international development and how MHM is considered significant to achieve various goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely Goals 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 12. Representative interventions that have been conducted are introduced to show the four categories of assistance. After a quick review of the research on menstruation and MHM, I will come back to the four case studies of this special issue to explain the position of these studies within the wider research framework.
This paper attempts to describe how the cultural customs and practices related to menstruation have changed among Khmer women in contemporary rural Cambodia and examine the theory behind this phenomenon. It explores both the continuity and discontinuity of cultural norms, beliefs and material culture after the long-term civil war.
Menstruation is both a biological phenomenon and a socio-cultural phenomenon, and is considered taboo in Khmer society. These days it has become part of the global agenda within international development policy and a trigger confrontation between aid workers and local people. Menstruation is a culturally sensitive topic, therefore outsider's interventions without realizing the local reality will cause inter-cultural conflict and social distortion. However, studies about menstruation focused on local women's experiences in Cambodia are limited because of its cultural position that menstruation is kept “silent” in the society. This article explores the many different ways in which this topic is discussed in Khmer culture through in-depth interviews with girls, their mothers, grandmothers, teachers, local market vendors, aid workers, and government officers.
These results show that with globalization, modernization, and the growing importance of school education and paid work, the traditional ceremony of the first menstrual period is decreasing and the meanings of a “good life of women” are changing. Besides these changes, because of a huge expansion in trade, the dissemination of sanitary napkins among local people expands the sphere of women's action and lengthens the time spent outside of their house. Because of currently increasing globalized development interventions, it is crucial that we are familiar with existing cultural and social views and attitudes toward menstruation.
The purpose of this paper is to investigate what kind of education about menstrual hygiene management is given at primary schools in Papua New Guinea and how female students are dealing with menstruation. It presents what needs to be done in order to bring women's practices into line with recent policies and development projects related to menstrual hygiene management.
The target of the survey was a primary school in a rural area of East Sepik Province. At the primary school, “classes” related to menstrual hygiene are held. I explain the contents of the “class” and the toilet facilities of the school and present the results of a questionnaire survey conducted with female students. The “class” is based on modern views of reproduction and hygiene. School toilet facilities are inadequate to maintain hygiene and privacy for managing menstruation, for example broken doors, no trash bins, and no incinerators. When dealing with menstruation for female students at the primary school, fears related to menstruation and shame against menstruation were observed.
In this paper, I show that the perception which considers menstruation as an embarrassment was born in modern education and it should be considered as a separate thing from taboos and fears over menstruation. For the new generation who go to school and use disposable sanitary pads, it is obvious that menstrual blood adhering to used pads has made them dirty, rather than an ambiguity between fertile and impure. I show that the improvement of absorbent sanitary products and toilet facilities under the policy and development project for dealing with menstrual hygiene can reduce feelings of fear and shame about menstruation. I also clarify that the spread of reusable cloth pads is not considered appropriate for women's practices when hygiene is considered.
This paper presents the findings of field research among female students regarding their knowledge of menstruation and the actual state of its daily management at public junior high schools in rural areas of Indonesia. The author aims to characterize the local context with regards to menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in the target regions and considers visible and invisible issues in current practices from the viewpoints of health, hygiene, and educational opportunities for girls.
Concerns and awareness about MHM have grown because it is part of the Sustainable Development Goals. In Indonesia, conscientiousness toward menstruating female workers has been institutionalized to some extent and a drive to promote school health and hygiene has been undertaken nationwide. Sanitary napkins have reportedly been circulated at a relatively reasonable price even in rural areas, making them accessible to junior high school students. Although there is still a major gap in development between urban and rural regions of Indonesia, the author heard no reports of difficulties in attending school during menstruation in the field.
Information about menstruation was provided mainly during natural science classes with both male and female students in attendance. Muslim students are also taught religious practices and taboos in relation to the menstrual blood and period. As a result, scientific explanations are often combined with the concept of impurity and recognized as “appropriate” knowledge. Female students attempt to ensure that the menstrual blood is not noticed by male students because they believe that it is impure. Such perceptions affect MHM; for instance, no student was ready to throw a stained napkin away without washing it until the blood faded away. Most girls seemed to prefer to use big napkins that would not leak or wore double napkins to avoid shameful situations.
In conclusion, the issue of MHM in the target areas does not seem to disturb the school attendance of female students. The mechanism of “appropriate” knowledge, however, should be carefully observed to stabilize the active role of female students so that their self-confidence is not affected in relation to locally conceptualized notions of females during menstruation as well as legitimate behavior according to religious or local customs.
In this paper, the author discusses what kind of assistance or actions would be appropriate that are based on emic realities of local communities, through a case study of teens'menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in “another Nicaragua.” The following three questions are explored to answer the inquiry: 1) What kind of large contexts do exist to generate “poverty pocket” areas where prerequisite basic infrastructure and public services for MHM are not provided while the country's economic conditions have been significantly improved?; 2) Under such social conditionings, how do teens going to public secondary schools deal with their menstruation at school and home?; and 3) what kind of supports or actions would be appropriate that are context-relevant to such realities? The field survey was conducted in Waspan city, the center of Waspan district of RACN (Nicaragua North Caribbean Autonomous Region), which is a border city to Honduras.
The following are the major findings of the research. First, regarding the contexts, it is confirmed that the Caribbean Nicaragua, where mixed-race indigenous Miskito people reside, has a history of multiple marginalizations. The region was first colonized by the UK and then economically exploited by US companies, and has also been encroached on and abandoned by the largely Mestizo Nicaraguan government. Second, the teen's MHM realities are examined. Interviews with middle school teachers revealed that there are no related programs or projects or even budget to fix school toilets destroyed by hurricanes. Questionnaires, interviews and domicile visits of the teens made clear that hygiene issues such as dirty toilets and shortage of water were of much greater concern than menstruation issues such as period pains or blood leakages. Possible correlations between alimentation and light menstruation are implied. Finally, the author makes some recommendations to realize context-relevant MHM supports/actions referring both to emic realities and etic MHM definitions and programs.
This paper aims to examine the impact of the expansion of non-government schools on female education in the Republic of Mali. In 1991, the government of Mali initiated institutional reforms for the democratization of the country and revamped its educational system as part of its decentralization plan. This process allowed non-government schools, including community schools, to be established with the purpose of promoting universal primary education. We used this reform program in the education sector to analyze the changes in girls' schooling and its influence on their marriage behavior.
The results of the estimates from our difference in differences (DID) analysis showed that the average years of girls' schooling in the beneficial areas of the program increased by 0.527 years. The instrumental variable analysis also revealed that an additional year of girls' education delayed the age at first birth by 0.485 and reduced the number of births before the age of 27 by 0.276. Because a lower fertility rate is expected to reduce population and support economic growth by accumulating human capital of the next generation in the long run, we may infer that this kind of policy reform resulted in favorable changes in promoting education for vulnerable groups such as girls.
Therefore, we can conclude that even in Islamic countries, the potential need for girls' education is high and the policy change of expanding non-government schools not only improved efficiency under severe fiscal constraints but also ensured equity and fairness in promoting girls' education.
Development Cooperation Agencies (DCAs) transfer organisational practices to improve the capability of public organisations in developing countries and to standardise overseas office administration across DCAs. However, the transfer often fails because the recipients merely ceremonially adopt transferred practices. Development cooperation practitioners and scholars commonly believe that ceremonial adoption is a “nuisance.” This paper refutes this thought by interpreting ceremonial adoption through the lenses of institutional theory and cultural theory, and by referring prior literature. Due to limited research in the international development sphere, the paper borrows a wealth of knowledge in the field of business, especially International Human Resource Management (IHRM) studies of practice transfer within Multinational Corporations (MNCs). Scholars who employ the two theories acknowledge the value of ceremonial adoption. They claim that the foreign subsidiaries of MNCs ceremonially adopt practices mandated by a head office to balance institutional and cultural gaps between their host countries and the head office's home country. In addition, ceremonial adoption helps MNCs to survive by letting them camouflage themselves. Finally, ceremonial adoption serves as the first stage of internalisation and integration of practices and assists in the hybridisation of brought practice and an existing practice. The two theories as well as IHRM literature suggest that ceremonial adoption also plays a beneficial role in development cooperation.
The Peace Corps, a governmental agency founded in 1961, has sent more than 230,000 US citizens to volunteer all over the world. Since the agency began in the middle of the Cold War, it has been stigmatized as US Imperialism in some countries. In its first decade of operations, the Peace Corps was expelled from eleven host countries, including Bolivia, due to rising anti-American sentiment. In case of Bolivia, scholars link the expulsion to the country's opposition to US policy and political tension due to the Peace Corps' population control efforts. Public opinion there was strongly influenced by the political left-wing groups at that time. The academic literature has focused on the reasons behind the ejection of the program from Bolivia and has rarely examined the safety and security issues of volunteers. As a result, this paper aims to explore the experience of Peace Corps volunteers and its office in Bolivia from the period when sentiment began to turn against the agency to the evacuation of volunteers and closure of the program office. The research analyzes data collected at the National Archives and Records Administration in Maryland, USA and mainly relies on official documents, telegrams, memos and program evaluations of the Peace Corps. The example of Bolivia demonstrates that international governmental volunteers who work in countries with significant anti-American sentiment face higher risks of violence, including attacks by mobs. The study concluded that the Peace Corps must prioritize the safety and security management of its volunteers who work under these challenging conditions.
From the 20th to the 21st century, major countries have invested large amounts of funds in international scholarship programs for higher education to build cultural, economic, and political ties with countries sending students. Japan also formulated a “Plan to Accept 100,000 Foreign Students” in 1983 and has been striving to enhance systematic measures for accepting international students.
This paper analyzes the impact of changes to the application system for international scholarship programs on the quality of applicants and selected candidates, with special attention paid to the JDS scholarship project in Cambodia granted by the government of Japan.
The analysis begins by comparing the English scores of three groups of applicants restricted by weak, medium, and strong application constraints at each stage of the application and final selection. Then, the composition of the applicants is examined to determine how their quality and composition have altered with the change to the system.
This paper reveals that the quality of applicants restricted by strong application constraints is lower than for those restricted by weak or medium constraints. This is caused by the “Target Organization System” that reduces applicants' degree of freedom to choose a field of study in their application. As a result, it leads to the paradoxical situation of hindering talented public servants in Cambodia from applying for the JDS scholarship despite JDS introducing the new system with the aim of fostering human resources within the government sector.
Access to clean water is one of the most critical elements for sustainable development. Community participation is necessary to achieve a sustainable water supply. However, Japanese non-governmental organizations (NGOs) face challenges such as lack of capital and human resources. To combat these challenges, it's necessary to cooperate with local stakeholders. This study hypothesizes that NGO's implementation systems affect cooperation between NGOs and local stakeholders and studies its effects on water supply sustainability. It aims to identify system issues within Japanese NGOs and the effects of water supply for different communities.
The study looked at basic information such as the project cycle and the roles of Japanese vs. local staff. For instance, out of 18 NGOs, 13 NGOs established community organizations for operation and facility management, whereas 5 NGOs sent Japanese staffs to target communities for project management and maintenance training. The study categorized 18 NGOs into three types. Type 1 NGOs send Japanese staffs in the target areas during the project while Type 2 NGOs do not. In addition, both Type 1 and 2 NGOs were able to establish water committees or institutions responsible for operation and facility maintenance. Type 3 NGOs encountered limitations in building water committees due to lack of financial and human resources and difficulties finding proper local counterparts.
This study concludes that NGO's implementation system does, indeed, affect the maintenance system, as well as the cooperation between Japanese NGOs and local stakeholders on monitoring and follow up. Some NGOs, who cooperated with local stakeholders only during the project, did not monitor and support the community while other NGOs decided to continue the partnership with local stakeholders even after the project ended. If problems arise, these NGOs can provide support, which makes water supply more sustainable. In conclusion, this study recommends such NGOs to cooperate with local NGOs or local government to continue monitoring and follow up.
This paper focused on the drinking water crisis in rural Bangladesh, especially in terms of salinity. It aims to reveal (1) the outcomes of drinking water facilities provided by development agencies and (2) the factors necessary for the sustainable usage of the drinking water facilities provided by development agencies. To achieve these objectives, a field survey was conducted in a village in Shyamnagar Upazila. This study recognized pond sand filters (hereinafter: PSFs) as small-scale and single-household-managed water facilities and pipelines as large-scale and multiple-household-managed water facilities. This study found 16 PSFs were constructed at private and public ponds, and one pipeline was constructed at a public pond, with more than 10 taps set up on village roads. However, nine PSFs, including all those erected at public ponds, were abandoned due to a cyclone and difficulties in co-management. The pipeline was abandoned due to water shortages, poor maintenance, and non-payment of user fees. Therefore, this study focused on location and the management committee to ensure sustainable water facility use. It concluded small-scale and single-household-managed water facilities should be located at private ponds where maintenance initiatives can be easily executed, and taps from large-scale and multiple-household-managed water facilities should be located on private land. Moreover, this study concluded a management committee should be established for both types of water facilities. However, their contribution to large-scale and multiple-household-managed facilities will be higher than their contribution to small-scale and single-household-managed facilities. The role of the management committee for small-scale and single-household-managed facilities is to make rules for using the facilities and rules should be handed down to the next committee (owners and users) when the previous one dissolves. However, the management committee for large-scale and multiple-household-managed facilities should not be dissolved and continuance of management committee will contribute to sustainable use of the facilities.