Menstrual Sustainability by Ending Stigma Project
1.8 billion girls and women of reproductive age worldwide experience menstruation each month as a natural part of life. Yet millions of these menstruating individuals lack basic access to menstruation services, products, and education about managing menstruation in a healthy way.
Gender inequality, discriminatory social norms and taboos, poverty and lack of basic access often hinder proper management of menstrual health. Though there is a recent rise in awareness and understanding of this need and the strong correlation between menstrual health and hygiene and empowerment of girls and women, Tanzania has a long road ahead to achieve universal access to MHM.
This program looks at the intersectionality of the problem. The core problem in mismanagement of menstrual health has been the result of multidimensional
socio-political-economic factors which has caused severe impacts on daily life, education, health, and socio- political status of women and girls in Tanzania resulting in marginalization and disempowerment.
Faithless Hijabi, Veronica Njoroge and Bahati Trust are partnering to produce and distribute low-cost reusable sanitary pads among menstruating adolescent girls in Tanzania. These pads are made of locally sourced East African pure cotton (flannel) fabric. These are foldable and easy to carry in waterproof pouches and clutch bags
As a temporary solution, while working to increase social awareness about MHM and eradicating social stigma about menstruation, these pouches and clutch bags will help women and girls to carry and use these pads discretely. The kit will cost around 15,000 tshs (5£) per child and will last around 5 years. Currently, a pack of pads that will last one menstrual cycle for an average individual costs £1 – £2. In comparison, this kit will ensure a steady supply of pads for 5 years at a fraction of total spending required now.
The over-arching goal of the program is to create an affordable, environment-friendly, easily usable, and commercially viable supply of sanitary pads by local entrepreneurs, ultimately achieving women’s and girls’ empowerment and gender equity.
Photo credits: Trude Johansen Gardner