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Menstrual health and hygiene (MHH) is a basic right for girls and women, and a key element in achieving gender equality. However, in many settings, particularly in West and Central Africa, women and girls do not have access to reliable, complete and accurate information, nor to adequate sanitation or protective products to allow them to manage their menstruation safely and with dignity. This results in many women being denied their basic human rights during menstruation, in terms of education, health, work, water or dignity in a broader sense.

It is in this context that UNICEF and UNFPA organized this regional symposium, within the framework of the French Muskoka Fund and in partnership with UNESCO. The event also built on initiatives carried out by the French Muskoka Fund over the past several months: it was preceded by a virtual conference held to mark the International Day of the Girl on 11 October 2020, followed by the digital communication campaign #LetsTalkPeriod.