This is the final installation of the Menstruation Series, and my final official blog post here on Feminine Boutique. What started as a mission to create more female-centered content is now growing into a hub of passionate writers who make this blog as wonderful as it is. Gah – leaving is bittersweet!
In 11 days, my spouse and I will be off to serve with the Peace Corps, and this series was my way of learning more about dealing with female health and hygiene while in a developing country. Hold onto your tears until the end folks, because I’ve got some more content to share before I sign off.
We have talked about why menstruation deeply affects women in the developing world, and we have talked about reusable menstruation products (cups and panties alike). In this final installation, I want to share some of the wonderful organizations out there tackling the issue of feminine hygiene and empowerment around the world!
1. WASH from UNICEF
WASH is a program run by UNICEF, and focuses on providing clean water, basic sanitary toilets, and promoting good hygiene practices in developing communities. In the United States, we really take clean drinking water and clean, functioning bathrooms for granted. The reality is, much of the world has to make do with much fewer resources. WASH has good ties with Peace Corps Volunteers and in the countries volunteers serve in. In Timor-Leste, for example, it is very likely that one of my projects will revolve around educating communities on basic hygiene in order to prevent diseases. Very central to their mission is focusing on building toilets and promoting hygiene in schools, as this keeps kids in school rather than home and sick due to lacking clean facilities. Also, better bathrooms at school mean girls don’t stay home due to their period. Boom.
I mentioned this social enterprise in my last post, but they are worth mentioning again. They are an excellent example of sustainable development in the area of menstrual health. Their model employs women in Ugandan communities in making reusable pads, and then those pads are sold locally at an affordable price for girls and women to use. Local women are given jobs, and provide an invaluable product to other women in the community. Girls are able to attend school because they have access to a reusable and affordable product that is easy to maintain. Everyone wins! AfriPads also seeks to educate women and girls, since periods are viewed as extremely taboo in some of the world, and often is a topic riddled with misconceptions. They are partnered with the likes of Lunapads and Thinx, as well as other companies stateside, so if you want to support their work, get on the reusable train with companies that support them from our side of the pond.
3. Menstrual Hygiene Day
For all you activists in the audience, this one is for you. Want to organize with local leaders to take a stand on promoting menstrual health in your community? They’ve got the tools ready for you to go for it. Every year, they put on Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28th, which is pretty similar to what the Women’s March sought to do back in January. They raise awareness of the challenges menstruating girls and women face around the world (as described in Part I of this series), and work to spark public discussions on female health. WASH United actually started up this project back in 2013, and it acts as a great outlet for those passionate about talking about women’s health. Down with the taboo, am I right? Check out the resources they have to offer–events are fun to organize and feel really great to bring to your own communities.
That’s a wrap! These are some of my personally favorite organizations working to start talking about menstrual health, promote hygiene and sanitation, and empower women in the developing world as much as at home. There are so many ways to be part of the movement, and by just being female, we are challenging the status quo in our own ways.
Thank you for reading, and catch ya on the flip side (of the globe),
P.S. You can follow my spouse and I on our next adventures here: martanshaunadventures.wordpress.com
P.P.S. You can also sign up for our probably monthly newsletter! tinyletter.com/martashaunadventures