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Pad for Pad Newsletter Issue 2: June 2015
“I feel confident that I am the one in my family to know about menstruation and every time a cousin gets her first period they send her to me to explain about what is happening in her body…I have explained to at least 7 of them” – Saranya V.
Happy Menstrual Hygiene Day!
May 28th was declared to be Menstrual Hygiene Day as May, the fifth month of the year, represents the average number of days a woman is on her period, while 28 represents the number of days in the menstrual cycle. Menstrual Hygiene Day is an international movement to break the silence and increase awareness about the importance of menstrual health. In honor of Menstrual Hygiene Day, we bring to you the second edition of the Pad for Pad newsletter. The focus of this newsletter is to share our methodology and evaluation for the Menstrual Health Education classes. In this edition we bring to you: 
  • Methodology and Evaluation Framework
  • Interview Insights
  • Lessons Learned
  • Targets for 2015-2016
  • Thanks and Welcome
Methodology and Evaluation Framework

Here at Eco Femme we are committed to delivering the best Menstrual Health Education possible. We know that our workshops are usually the first and only time that girls will receive formal menstrual health education, so we want to get it right. Our goals for the workshops are that girls make friends with their bodies, have the necessary confidence to discuss menstruation, improve menstrual health management practices, and that girls try Eco Femme pads thus leading to a reduction in the use of disposable sanitary napkins polluting the environment. 

We use a variety of methods to assess our success in achieving the desired learning outcomes. Tracking sheets, written evaluations, individual key informant interviews, roleplaying, and hand polling are all tools we use to help us verify the impact of the Menstrual Health Education workshop. By using consistent measurement indicators, such as the percentage of girls sun-drying pads, we are able to evaluate the value of the workshop over time. Girls are polled prior to the workshop, three months post workshop, and one year post workshop in order to assess change in behavior and practices. 
Interview Insights
 
As part of the formative evaluation, Eco Femme conducted in-depth interviews with a sample of 12 girls who participated in the Menstrual Health Workshop last year at the Kuilapalayam Trust School. One on one interviews were conducted for an hour and a half to gauge content retention, change in behavior, and solicit feedback to improve our curriculum. We are pleased to announce the evaluation showed Eco Femme’s sessions have had a positive impact on the girls:
  • 10 out of 12 girls are using the cloth pads
  • All 10 users are caring for them correctly
  • 11 out of 12 girls said that after the session they shared what they learned with a family member or friends 
In the words of the young women themselves:
“Since I got the Eco Femme pads I don't have to go through the process of digging holes in the earth to bury the used pads and I'm happy about it…I have also been tracking my period in my school dairy. "       – Shagul Begum,
16-years-old
"I spoke for the first time about periods to my aunt and my cousin and we discussed what is happening in the 28 days and why girls act sensitive…After the session I do not restrict myself from feeding the dogs and watering the plants.” - Pavithra Selvi,
14 years-old 

 
Lessons Learned 
 
Our evaluations showed Eco Femme’s workshops have had a positive impact on the girls, but we also learned that there are still ways we can improve. All the students remembered and valued the sessions, especially for tips such as yoga poses to help reduce abdominal cramps during menstruation and nutritional advice to eat iron-rich foods (as anemia is prevalent among women in India). Through the evaluations we learned that two girls felt they lacked access to enough water to properly care for washable cloth pads. A thirteen-year-old student cited drying the pads as a barrier because "I could not dry it along with all the clothes because I have two brothers and I'm feeling shy." Of the twelve girls interviewed, we were pleased to hear that none of them said they miss school due to having their period. However, many of the girls said they do not change their pads while at school which may be putting them at risk for vaginal infections. Going forward we feel we need to investigate the obstacles girls face in changing their pads at school and how Eco Femme can contribute towards being part of the solution. 
 
Targets for 2015-2016
 
From 2013-2014 to 2014-2015 we more than doubled the number of girls receiving pad kits, the number of pads distributed, and the number of Menstrual Health Education workshops taught. For 2015-2016 we have ambitious goals, but with your support we can do it. This year we aim to distribute 16,000 pads to 4,000 girls and conduct 135 educational sessions. This growth is part of our ongoing effort in conjunction with USAID and Dasra to increase the reach of our Menstrual Health Education workshops. 

Thank you!
 
As always, thank you to all of you for your continued support of Eco Femme and eco-positive menstrual practices. Special thanks to Girl Power in Japan for their ongoing generous support and Two Rags in Australia. The donation from Two Rags will sponsor an exciting pilot project that will not only provide adolescent girls with finished pads, but will also give them Make Your Own kits. Using Make Your Own kits to stitch your own pad can be a powerful experience for women, as it can bring a greater connection to the menstrual experience and offer a feeling of accomplishment. We are pleased to have Kavya Menon on board to spearhead this initiative and look forward to seeing the impact of empowering girls to stitch pads themselves. Stay tuned for the results!
 
Welcome...
 
A warm welcome to our new partners! Creating new partnerships with organizations around the country, who already work with adolescent girls, allows us to increase the scope of our Pad for Pad distribution. We look forward to growing our partner relationships to increase access to washable cloth pads. Check out: 
***We welcome feedback or suggestions for things you would like to hear more about through these newsletters.***
 
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Students at the Aikiyam School receiving Eco Femme pads.
Vatchala uses a model uterus to explain the function and position of the uterus. In evaluations girls frequently cited the model uterus as a particularly useful learning tool. 
Colored menstrual seeds are used to teach girls about the phases of the menstrual cycle and how they can track their cycle themselves.  
Polling Results

A written evaluation of 250 girls ranging in age from twelve to eighteen from three different schools showed that:
  • 97% had tried Eco Femme pads
  • 90% of girls continued to use Eco Femme pads
  • 70% said they would continue to use Eco Femme pads for 6 months or more
  • 85% of girls were happy with comfort and appearance of Eco Femme pads
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