...a pioneering fertility awareness project to accompany girls, boys and their parents through puberty.
How girls experience and value their own bodies has a huge influence on their self-image and self-esteem. It is one of the most decisive developmental tasks to accept oneself as a woman, and experience the physical changes of puberty in a positive way. The better young girls are prepared for this challenge the better they can later deal with their fertility and sexuality.
This was the guiding principle for Dr. Elisabeth Raith-Paula, when in 1999 she set up the MFM Project in Germany. Many of her female adult patients, when taught about their fertility had asked, “Why haven’t we been told this before?” This gave her the insight to write a book to teach young girls the signs of fertility. Later, parents’ evenings were set up to help them understand their daughter’s pending puberty. During these sessions, it was suggested that there should be a day training programme to teach the girls. From this request emerged this large, popular European project which also includes the boys workshop.
Since 1999, the demand for the MFM Project has grown rapidly reaching over more than half a billion girls, boys and parents. In 2002, the MFM Project was awarded the prestigious Bavarian health promotion and disease prevention award; in 2003 it was awarded a “best-practice project” of the European Union and in 2004 it received a scholarship in counseling (Start-Social McKinsey). In 2010 Dr Raith-Paula has been awarded with the Federal Cross of Merit and in 2012 she became an Ashoka Fellow www.ashoka.org.
MFM Project is now by far the largest sex education programme in Germany. Currently about 330 active trainers are running workshops, mainly in schools.
In 2017, over 77,000 girls, boys and their parents were reached by more than 5000 project events in Germany.
Meanwhile the MFM project has spread over many countries (France, Austria, Switzerland, England, and Hungary, Belgium, Latvia, Lithuania, South Tyrol and China).
Please find the contact to the MFM organisation in your country on top of this page.
The Cycle Show is an educational, interactive, multi-media, fertility awareness workshop for young girls. It is a desirable addition to the standard sex education given in schools.
Its aim is to equip young girls with the knowledge of what is going on inside their bodies in relation to puberty. This knowledge then supports and prepares them in a positive way for the wonderful changes they will experience within their bodies over the coming years.
Today it is more important than ever for young girls to have high self-esteem regarding their bodies, not just when they are in the middle of puberty, but before the onset. The beginning of sexual maturation is the ideal time for girls to learn about and appreciate all the amazing changes that are taking place within their bodies. Participation in the Cycle Show gives girls a healthy respect for their bodies and helps to protect them as they move into their teenage years.
All language and images used within the workshop must come from the trademarked script supplied by the International MFM Project.
The script is followed by all trainers to ensure that biological terms are always used simultaneously with positive images or comparisons and is respectful of the age and the innocence of the girls attending the Cycle Show.
The Cycle Show illustrates to girls what is happening inside a woman’s body in a loving way with a respectful style using colourful materials, scarves, music and fun games.
In the first part of the workshop, the girls are introduced to the “equation of life” (sperm + egg = new life). The girls themselves take on the roles of hormones and experience how the heralds of spring (FSH), the estrogen friends, the ovulation helpers (LH) and progesterone team work in the body of a woman to create human life.
After gaining a basic knowledge of the actions of the hormones and seeing them as her friends, the second and main part of the workshop is focused on each girl understanding how these hormones act within her own body. She learns that with each cycle a new luxury suite (lining of the uterus) is prepared for a potential guest (baby) and if the guest doesn’t arrive (and shouldn’t for her until she is older) she will not worry about the loss of the luxury suite, knowing that each month her body prepares a new one because her healthy body can afford it.
Finally, the girls recognise fertility codes within their bodies, such as the ‘magic potion’ (cervical mucus). Menstrual hygiene options are discussed; girls are taught what to expect and how to manage their first bleed.
Like a theatre audience staring at the red curtains that frame an empty dark stage waiting for something to happen, many women in our society do the same for their menstrual period. They are completely unaware of what actually takes place in their bodies leading up to menstruation. We explain these events in an impressive behind the scenes show.
A similar project for boys has been up and running since 2003. In the workshop “Agents on a mission”, the boys discover what`s going on in their own bodies during puberty, how new life comes into existence and what`s happening in the women’s bodies in a fun, age appropriate and respectful manner.