Findings from the study include:
• Girls in Kiribati lack knowledge about menstruation and reproductive health as they transition into adolescence and adulthood.
• Poor water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) contributes to girls being unable to manage their menstruation in Kiribati schools.
• It is often considered taboo for men and boys to talk about menstruation or interact with menstruating girls and women.
• Strong beliefs about menstruation in Kiribati culture can have a very positive effect on girls. However, some behavioural restrictions have potentially harmful outcomes.
• Girls in Kiribati schools find it difficult to manage their menstrual pain.
• Key members of the school leadership community also lack knowledge about menstrual health and hygiene, most notably parents and teachers.
Recommendations for school leaders include:
• Ensuring the school toilets are safe, secure, private and hygienic. Encouraging teachers to talk about menstruation and female health with students.
• Acting as role models.
• Ensuring easy access for girls to sanitary pads and pain relief.
• Disciplining bad behaviours.
• Starting a conversation about behavioural restrictions for menstruating girls.