Why Mela in Ethiopia?


of Ethiopian girls say they do not use any product to manage their menstruation


of Ethiopian women and girls use home-made alternatives


of Ethiopian women report having everything they need to manage their periods


of Ethiopian adolescent girs have never received information on menstrual hygiene

In Ethiopia, 24.1 million girls and women are of reproductive age. Most of them are unable to adequately meet their menstrual hygiene needs – only 28% of Ethiopian women reported having everything they need to manage their menstruations.

In addition, there is an unmet demand for quality menstrual hygiene products in Ethiopia, especially in rural areas. Though 84% of Ethiopians live in rural areas, 80% of the distribution of menstrual products takes place in urban areas. Products are often of poor quality, unequally distributed, and unaffordable.

Ethiopian girls and women not only face challenges to find and afford menstrual products, but also to have access to clean and safe sanitation facilities and receive proper health care support. When at school, 85% of girls don’t change their pads because of the absence of separate toilets for females, teasing from male students, lack of water sources, and nonexistence of disposal systems.


Menstruation is considered highly taboo in Ethiopia. Most girls and women face social stigma and discrimination when having their periods. This leads to feelings of shame and distress that are exacerbated by the lack of access to sufficient information and education on Menstrual Health and Hygiene (MHH). Over half of adolescents in Ethiopia have never received information on how to manage their periods. Only 40% of rural girls tell anyone about their first menstruation when it happens and, only 22% of women say they have talked about periods with their daughter’s pre-menarche.

Women and girls pay a high price for having their periods. According to UNICEF (2017), 20-25% of girls miss at least some school due to their menstruation. In pastoralists areas of the Somali Regional State, up to 68% of girls miss at least one day of school. Regular school absenteeism derives in lower performance and school dropouts. Out of the school, girls are at a higher risk of early and forced marriage.

Under these circumstances, MELA FOR HER is determined to provide effective solutions to girls and women so they can develop their full potentialities.