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Periodically - It's Time For Action! (June 2019)
Dear Friends,  welcome back to another issue of 'Periodically'.
"It's Time For Action" was the theme adopted by Menstrual Hygiene Day for global events conducted on and around the 28th May - and we couldn't agree more!  So in this newsletter we will be sharing some of the action's we have been engaged in to bring more visibility to the importance of menstrual health education and a global shift in attitudes towards revaluing this life sustaining process.

Read on to see what we, our partners and ambassadors have been up to...


Empowering Ambassadors
On 7, 8 and 9th April, we hosted our 3rd Empowering Ambassadors workshop in Auroville. 
This time we welcomed 21 enthusiastic ambassadors (men and women) from across India who were keen to deepen their learning about how to engage with groups at all levels of society about sustainable menstruation, and connect with like minded peers who do this work for their love of the earth and commitment to social change.

It was an inspiring gathering and everyone left feeling energised and ready to further the #clothpadrevolutionWe have been delighted to see the ripple effects of such a workshop, as participants have begun to translate their learnings into events and educational programmes within their communities.
We hope to conduct these workshops at least once a year - let us know if you wish to join in future!
Training of Trainers in Kerala
On 24, 25, and 26th April, Kathy and Preethi undertook a Training of Trainers programme in Alappuzha District, Kerala for Indo-Global Social Services Society as part of their programmes for flood affected communities in Alappuzha and Idduki districts.
The 3 day programme covered how to conduct menstrual health education with adolescent girls and women and included guidance on how to get comfortable speaking about menstruation, product analysis and a highlight was a cloth pad stitching activity with the 10 participants.
We are thrilled to see that some of the trainees have gone on to conduct sessions as a result of the confidence and skills they gained. They are are turning out to be a force for change!
New Videos!
In early May we released two new videos on menstrual product analysis. We believe in informed choice about menstrual products that promote health and well-being – for the individual, for the community and for the earth.

In this first video, Eco Femme co-founder Kathy describes the process for conducting menstrual product analysis in the field:
In this second training video, Nikethana shows you how to conduct menstrual product analysis in real-time, guiding participants to reflect critically on 5 commonly used menstrual product options – disposable napkins, repurposed cloth, cloth washable pads, menstrual cups and tampons:
Menstrual Hygiene Day
28th May was Menstrual Hygiene Day. The theme this year is #ItsTimeForAction with a focus on menstrual health education.

We joined individuals and organisations from around the world to go on camera and share what we think is needed to create a world in which women and girls are no longer limited by their periods. Can you spot us?
Limited Edition

We launched a limited edition Indigo range at the beginning of June  for World Environment Day & World Ocean Day. This range does not have a PUL/leakproof layer & is naturally dyed with indigo making it completely environment friendly.

They sold out within 24 hours!
Follow us on social media for news of future limited editions...

Pads for Sisters
Pads for Sisters is the programme under which we make cloth pads accessible to economically disadvantaged women (over 19 years old) who would not otherwise be able to afford or access our pads at commercial prices.
Pads for Sisters Targets
Our Target for 2018-19 was to distribute 36,000 pads (18,000 subsidised and 18,000 cost price pads) to women through our Pads for Sisters programme.
We didn't quite reach our target but still provided a total of 29,876 pads through Pads for Sisters in 2018-19.

For 2019-20, our target is 42,500 pads 
-  wish us luck in reaching our goal!
Pad for Pad
Pad for Pad is the programme under which we make cloth pads available as a free choice to girls (under 19 years old)  along with an educational session on menstrual health.
Pad for Pad Targets
Our Target for 2018-19 was to reach 10,000 girls (each receiving 4 pads = 40,000 pads) through our Pad for Pad programme.
We beat our target reaching a total of 10,426 girls (distributing 41,204  pads)!
For 2019-20, our target is 12,500 girls ( 50,000 pads) -  wish us luck in reaching our goal!
Partner in Profile: Jessica D'Souza from BAIF, Rajasthan.
Jessica D'Souza is working in Rajasthan for BAIF (who partner with us through both Pad for Pad and Pads for Sisters).  She is doing great work to provide menstrual health education as well as access to cloth pads to both women and girls in her area.  Here she shares her thoughts on this journey:

My journey with Eco Femme began after joining the SBI Youth for India Fellowship. I decided to continue on an initiated project on Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in Banswara, Rajasthan. As a young urban girl, I always had questions in my mind…who does the segregation of sanitary napkins from the common waste? If menstruation is normal, why do I have to hide my sanitary napkins from my dad? These and many more questions kept me inquisitive about this topic.

After thorough understanding of my ex-fellow Ms. Ankita Sharma’s work with BAIF, I was deeply inspired by the Pad for Pad Programme by Eco Femme. Yes, the cloth pads are given for free but that’s not what makes it unique. The very fact that the programme emphasises educating girls to make an informed choice is what won my heart. As part of this programme, I have taken 3 sessions so far in 2 schools and 1 village. From educating about periods, to conducting a product analysis, and yes, trying for the most important of all – a mindset change (to eradicate the ‘impure’ tag on women), it’s been an enriching and transforming journey for me so far. As they say, change begins with oneself, so I decided to switch to cloth pads before I spoke about them and today for me, it seems much more comfortable than disposable sanitary napkins.

As we all are aware, menstruation is not an issue that can be dealt with in isolation. A holistic approach towards it is the need of the hour, especially in rural India. Further, to sustain our cloth pad movement, we are currently working on this ‘Retail Model’ for rural women by involving woman entrepreneurs to sell the cloth pads in different villages. This model is part of the Pads for Sisters Programme which makes the cloth pads available to rural women at a subsidized rate of Rs.50. My ex-fellow managed to reach out to many women via this programme. However, for keeping this model rotating irrespective of the presence of a fellow / NGO Staff, we decided to start the ‘Retail model’ by involving a few enthusiastic women (namely Phulwanti, Kalavati, Manjulal and Meera) from different villages to purchase and sell the cloth pads independently, thereby earning a small profit margin.
The idea behind the model is to make the women self-reliant. Yes, there are a few challenges though!
  • The first challenge is for women to gain acceptance of the cloth pad itself which involves a behavioral change for cloth/sanitary napkin users.
  • Secondly, women who use cloth from old clothes hardly spend any money for managing their menstrual cycle so they are less likely to purchase cloth pads.
  • The biggest challenge I would say is due to the free sanitary napkins being distributed by the Rajasthan Govt. in Schools and Anganwadis.
But we've decided to give it a shot and have begun this journey with the training by the Eco Femme team in Ghatol. So currently, we are in the budding stage but I believe with the support and motivation we have received from Eco Femme, this will surely grow steadily and initiate the cloth pad revolution which we have jointly envisioned.
We have a little challenge for you all this summer and beyond!

If you and your Eco Femme pads are off on holiday this summer,  snap a picture of your pad whilst you're away and share it to social media with the hashtag #ClothPadsOnTour

We want to see how far around the world these pads can go - as well as showing that you can totally still use cloth pads while travelling! Even if you're not travelling, you can join in, snapping your pad on a trip to the park or the shops ;)

Here's a few examples that members of our team have snapped so far in Australia and Goa! :)
That's all from us, have a lovely summer everyone and we'll see you later in the year!
Love from all at Eco Femme
Copyright © 2019 Eco Femme, All rights reserved.

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