Educating boys about puberty and menstruation has been hypothesized to aid in reducing menstrual stigma and negative attitudes about menstruation. We developed and piloted a school-based intervention for girls and boys to increase knowledge about puberty and foster a more supportive environment for menstruating schoolgirls. In this sub-study, we report on data from the schoolboys. We conducted 24 formative in-depth interviews and four group vignette exercises to develop the intervention package. We then carried out pre-and post-intervention surveys and conducted four follow-up focus group discussions to determine the feasibility, acceptability, and effects of the intervention package among schoolboys and to develop recommendations for scale-up. During the formative phase, boys reported minimal knowledge concerning puberty but felt puberty education was vital for all. Following the intervention, boys' awareness of menstruation increased compared to baseline [PD: 15%; 95% confidence interval (CI): 2, 29]. The reported comfort level of discussing puberty-related issues in a school club or with friends also increased [PD: 13%; 95% CI: 2, 24]. In focus groups, boys reported finding the sessions helpful and informative. Engagement of schoolboys, combined with well-delivered intervention materials and social and behavior change communication interventions is feasible and can contribute to a more supportive and girl-friendly environment in schools.
Establishing a common pool of accurate information about puberty and menstruation creates room for open discussion and destigmatization of menstruation.
Engagement of schoolboys, combined with well-delivered intervention materials and social and behavior change communication interventions can contribute to more supportive and girl-friendly environments in schools. This in turn may contribute to lower school dropout rates.