Periods in humanitarian disasters | ActionAid UK

Periods in humanitarian disasters


The contents of a 'dignity kit' that ActionAid distributed to refugee women in Greece. It includes sanitary towels, wipes, soap, a pair of pants, a toothbrush and toothpaste. 

Photo: Karin Schermbrucker/ActionAid

Putting menstrual hygiene at the heart of emergency response

Women and girls are particularly vulnerable in emergencies, disasters and conflict zones. ActionAid ensures that women are at the heart of our emergency response work, because they are amongst the first reponders to a crisis, and bring vital skills, resources and experience.

Because our emergency work is led by women, they ensure that the needs of women refugees and other vulnerable groups are met. That is why ActionAid recognises that access to clean and safe sanitary products is not a ‘nice-to-have’. 

How ActionAid distributes sanitary towels in an emergency

We have distributed sanitary towels in crises and disasters as wide-ranging as the Nepal earthquakes of 2015, in Greece at the height of the refugee crisis in 2015-2016, in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and in East Africa during the food crisis of 2017.

They are often distributed at our Women Friendly Spaces, which we set up in the aftermath of disasters to provide a safe space for women and girls who may be at risk of violence. 


Page updated 27 May 2020