Alum Helps Integrate Menstrual Health Education into School Curriculums in Honduras

Aubrey Racz and a colleague sit on a brick wall in front of a colourful sign that says "Santa Barbara".
Aubrey Racz and a colleague in Santa Barbara, Honduras.

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 4, 2022) – Alum Aubrey Racz recently spent a month in Honduras, helping to integrate menstrual health education into school curriculums.

Racz received the Carolyn Crowley Meub WASH for Women Empowerment Scholarship from Pure Water for the World, a global non-profit that specializes in water, sanitation and hygiene solutions and education. The scholarship took her to Honduras, where she worked on women’s studies related to menstrual health management and hygiene.

Specifically, Racz worked on the data collection process for formative research, assisting with focus groups with girls, boys, women, men, and teachers to better understand their experiences surrounding menstruation.

“Students were still learning from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so our work gave them a unique opportunity to learn about this highly stigmatized subject in a more private setting,” Racz explains.

In many countries, girls fall behind in school because of absences due to menstruation and its stigma. The Pure Water for the World project in Honduras aimed to increase conversation and clear up misinformation—with a focus on capturing the experiences of boys and men in addition to girls and women, as they are often left out of conversations on menstruation.

While working towards her MPH, Racz had interned with Pure Water for the World—and this opportunity in Honduras enabled her to work in person with people she had worked with virtually during her internship.

“It was amazing getting to work with people I had interned with while at the School of Public Health!” she says.

Racz currently works in Covid-19 response but plans to pursue other global opportunities related to water and sanitation.

“I am most passionate about global health, specifically water, sanitation, and hygiene initiatives. I believe that water is a basic human right and everyone deserves access to clean water and proper sanitation,” says Racz, who previously spent time living in Latin America and was shocked at the price of clean water.

“I have since learned the significant effect water and sanitation have on public health and I hope to be a part of the solution!” she says.