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Key considerations for hygiene or “dignity” kits

Last edited: July 03, 2013

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  • In 2000 the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) initiated efforts to address women’s unmet non-food item needs through the distribution of basic hygiene kits. These kits include items such as panties, sanitary napkins, soap, toothbrushes, and towels, and were intended to help restore women’s dignity and increase their mobility during crisis situations.
  • Sanitary materials have a direct impact on the dignity, health, education, mobility, community involvement, family functioning, economic participation, and security of women and girls. Lack of sanitary napkins and other hygiene material can interfere with women’s ability to participate in economic activities and access needed resources or services, and can keep girls home from school. Women and girls may become increasingly isolated due to their lack of mobility.
  • Dignity kits help to meet women’s immediate hygiene needs, freeing them to participate in their daily lives as well as allowing them to spend their money on other needs, such as food for their family.
  • The provision of hygiene kits also becomes a possible entry point for introducing educational material on sexual and reproductive health and rights – an important strategy in the prevention of VAWG.
  • In the distribution of dignity kits and other hygiene material, cultural sensitivity must be maintained.  The contents of dignity kits must be based on input and preferences of women and girls in the community, and context-specific items – such as headscarves in Muslim settings – must be included to meet the cultural norms of each location (Abbey et. al., 2011).

Additional Tool:

See the Evaluation of UNFPA’s Provision of Dignity Kits in Humanitarian and Post-Crisis Settings (Abbey, L., Bailey, B., Karasawa, Y., Louis, D., McNab, S., Patel, D., Lopez, C., Rani, R., Saba, C., & Vaval, L., 2011)