The start of the new sanitary pads program ‘Making periods normal’ was marked with a kick-off meeting on September 25 and 26 in Patna, Bihar. The program, in partnership with Women on Wings, Simavi, Rutgers WPF and their Indian partners, aims to improve the situation in India regarding menstruation and availability of sanitary pads.
Women on Wings has been involved in menstrual health and sanitary pads programs for the last three years. Adrianne Jonquière-Breure, Women on Wings Sanitary Pads Program Manager: “We see changes in India on the whole subject; changes on breaking the taboo, but also on our own focus of making it a viable business. More and more social entrepreneurs in India have started businesses in sanitary pads and other solutions to manage menstruation. It’s clearly a hot topic looking at the number of press people present at the kick-off.“ For the ‘Making periods normal’ program it is of utmost importance that social, environmental and economic impact must be dealt with in the right balance.
Though Women on Wings and its partners have formulated specific focus fields in the program, the scope of menstrual hygiene is greater. Adrianne: “For example waste and sanitation are subjects highly related to managing healthy menstruation. This was illustrated not only in the speech of Dr. Shah (Ministry of Health) at the kick-off, but also in our SWOT-analysis. Gaps are identified that need to be bridged to ensure the impact the program aims for. Yes, we can educate school girls, and provide them with affordable solutions, but if there is no clean water and no proper changing facility, the program will not work. Therefore, a holistic approach is required and identified.” Women on Wings will facilitate in setting up a Knowledge Centre in which information and knowledge on all different subjects will be centralized.