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Periodically - Dec 2018

Dear Friends,  welcome back to another issue of 'Periodically'.

This time let's take a look progress made halfway through the year in our non-profit programmes, Pad for Pad and Pads for Sisters as well as our new festive limited edition range and more!

 

Get your pads sunny side up this Christmas!
 
Introducing our limited edition tropical design pads. The leakproof back fabric is a little thicker than our regular range. It is more durable and feels even more snug against your body.

Give the gift of plastic free periods this Christmas or just treat yourself and bring some tropical vibes to the winter days!

 
Available while stocks last over at:
www.ecofemme.org/shop

We're more than half way through this financial year and well on our way to achieving our overall targets for the two menstrual health programmes we run to support marginalised women and girls in getting affordable access to cloth pads.
 

Here is a little progress report for each programme...

Pad for Pad
Our target for 2018 – 19  was to reach 10,000 girls. In the first 6 months (April - September 2018), we reached...
  • 4,830 girls
  • distributed 4,710 Pad for Pad kits (4 pads and a carry pouch)
  • which makes a total of 18,840 pads
  • during 154 menstrual health educational sessions
This means we have 5170 girls to reach out to before end of March 2019.
 
We currently work with 15 local schools near our headquarters in Auroville, Tamil Nadu, and we have 23 partners spread across 13 Indian states. While most are institutional partners, we have a few wonderful individuals who are passionate and committed to "passing on the power of informed choice" to adolescent girls.

One is Jayashree in Andhra Pradesh who has been working diligently with girls over the last 3 years. She recently shared a wonderful story with us about how this program has turned these girls into passionate ambassadors who refuse to accept disposable pads because of their concerns for the environment - read her story later in this newsletter.
Did you know that we welcome new partners who are able to reach at least 250 girls in a year?

Learn more about becoming a Pad for Pad partner and to learn more about this programme watch this video >>>
Pads for Sisters
Two projects have been a focus for us these last few months within this programme.
 

Part 1: As we shared in our last newsletter, we have been invited to introduce cloth pad manufacturing and menstrual health education into the North East Region in a project called “Sustainable Technologies in the North East Region” (STINER) commissioned by the Ministry of Development of the North East Region.
This is the first time an Indian Government agency has commissioned a project to introduce cloth pads instead of disposable pads and it's an exciting challenge for us!

 

Since our exploratory visit to Assam in April this year we have completed two more assignments - the launch of a product testing process with Self Help Groups (SHG) members in three states (Sikkim, Nagaland and Tripura) and the training of the first production unit in Tripura - see photos below.
 

Our next steps will be:

  1. to train self help group women in Sikkim and Nagaland  to establish a production unit in each state

  2. Undertake a menstrual health education training of trainers for facilitators across 3 states

  3. Develop a robust process for marketing and promoting cloth pads based on insights gained from data being collected from product testing

Watch this space for the next installments!

Part 2: We began a new project with
Mercedes Benz Research and Development India
.

They approached us a few months ago to collaborate with them in a project focussed on menstrual health for adolescent girls through their Government school network to coincide with Daan Utsav (Joy of Giving week). Employees at MBRDI were given an introductory session on sustainable menstruation and why it matters. They made newspaper bags into which cloth pad kits were prepared for distribution to girls along with menstrual health education.

In the month of December, 20 educational sessions have been conducted in Bangalore Government schools led by our Eco Femme facilitators, Nikethana, Kalvi, Harishini and ambassador, Shipra.

Pads were sponsored by MBDRI as a CSR project. The girls were very responsive to the sessions and most eagerly embraced the idea of using cloth pads.

 

Our Pads for Sisters target for the first half of the year was to provide 18,000 pads at either discounted or cost price (no profit) to economically disadvantaged women. Our figures to the end of September were:

  • 15,463 cost price pads sold
  • 6,902 subsidised pads sold
  • which is a total of 22,365 pads sold!


 

Going Forward...
A major focus for us right now is demonstrating impact and gathering more data on factors influencing adoption and experiences of women who have been using the cloth pads for more than 3 months. We have switched to digital data collection to streamline M&E processes and look forward to sharing more stories of impact in coming editions!

Jayshree's story from the field
We wanted to share this story from Jayshree, an active Pad for Pad partner who does it all voluntarily as a freelance educator:
 
"On 30th Nov, an incident happened that I thought shows how quickly students turn into Eco Femme Ambassadors.

VPT (Visakha Port Terminal) supplies schools in the area, items of assistance like desks, bags, books, exam boards etc.  Disposable napkins are distributed every month at these schools. Each girl is given a brown paper packet with 7 very thin, cheap looking disposable pads.

I was not aware of the distribution of these disposable napkins. I questioned the young lady volunteers about sanitary waste caused by using disposable napkins. I made them aware by giving them their own distribution numbers.


They are distributing 3000 sanitary napkin sets in 7 girls' schools of the Vizag area. That is (3000 x 7 x 12) 252,000 in a year.

The VPT volunteers were heckled by the new Eco Femme student ambassadors about the huge monthly quantity of waste caused by disposable sanitary napkins. The 9th Std girls refused to take the VPT disposable napkins & requested them not to distribute again in their school. It was quite a showdown. They were categorical in telling them that their pads were of poor quality. This was the 7th month that VPT had distributed these sanitary napkins to the girls. I thought this was an interesting story to share."
For the first half of this financial year (April - Sept 2018) - we have sold and distributed (through direct sales, stockists worldwide and our non-profit work) a total of:

92,442  cloth pads!

If each pad lasts approximately 75 washes, this means we have saved almost
7 million (6,933,150) disposable pads from landfill!!!
Over Diwali, we launched a special prototype cloth pad soap made by our friends at MGEcoduties, an eco friendly cleaning product manufacturing unit based here in Auroville - to learn more, check out the 'how to wash my cloth pad?' blog series over on our BLOG 

Did you purchase one of the limited edition Cloth-Pad-Soaps?
Have you had the chance to try it out?

If so, we're now looking for your feedback!
You can give your feedback via email (info@ecofemme.org), on social media using #clothpadsoap or by making a review directly in our online shop via this link: http://ow.ly/GyhL30mRUq8

We look forward to hearing from you!
That's all from us. Wishing a happy holidays to you all and our best wishes for 2019!

Love from all at Team Eco Femme xx
Copyright © 2018 Eco Femme, All rights reserved.


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