Bhursu Village: Breaking the Silence, Embracing Menstrual Hygiene Management

Imagine a community in rural India where menstruation was shrouded in silence and shrouded in shame. This was the reality for Bhursu village in Jharkhand before a remarkable transformation began in 2019. 

CInI embarked on a mission to empower the community through the Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) program. Unlike typical programmes, they didn’t just focus on women and girls; they included men and couples in awareness sessions. The goal was bold: to break the silence surrounding menstruation, educate the community on safe practices using scientific facts and cultural sensitivity, and shatter harmful myths. 

One of the biggest hurdles was the safe disposal of sanitary waste. In rural areas with limited access to proper waste management systems, where biodegradable agricultural waste dominates, tackling this challenge was crucial. CInI’s ingenious solution? The “Matka Incinerator” programme.

Using readily available earthen pots (matkas), CInI created a simple yet effective solution for waste disposal. These incinerators were installed in the homes of menstruating women and girls, offering a safe and dignified way to manage their waste.

The success of this initiative resonated with Sunder Munda, the village head. He recognised that women in rural-tribal regions often bathe and practice hygiene near ponds and wells. Traditionally, they disposed of pads by digging holes or throwing them away wrapped in paper, creating a sanitation and hygiene nightmare. This could potentially negate the progress made through the MHM programme.

Inspired by the success at the household level, Sunder Munda championed the initiative’s expansion to public spaces. Currently, three incinerators are installed near ponds and wells, with plans for two more, making disposal convenient and hygienic for all women in the community.

Bhursu village stands as a shining example of taking ownership and driving positive change. Their journey highlights the power of collaboration between communities and organisations like CInI. By combining infrastructure development with critical behaviour change initiatives, Bhursu is paving the way for improved water, sanitation, and hygiene standards across the Central Indian Belt, inspiring countless others to embrace a healthier and more dignified future.