‘Making Periods Normal’ program creates jobs and changes communities

Late September Women on Wings, Simavi and Rutgers and their local implementing partners in the ‘Making Periods Normal’ program visited some villages in Bihar to see and hear from the people involved in the program. The alliance partners are very positive about the results so far.

Impact goes beyond access to sanitary pads
Women on Wings’ local implementing partner DharmaLife trains rural women in selling products from a ‘social basket’. Currently 532 so called ‘DharmaLife Entrepreneurs’ sell products like sanitary pads, soap and solar lanterns in villages in Munger and Bhagalpur, Bihar. Anupama Mairal, Senior Consultant at Women on Wings: “During the field visit we experienced that the impact of the program goes beyond awareness about and access to sanitary pads. Women shared that they are now allowed to go for prayer during their menstruation. Views on gender equality and household chores have changed; some men help their wives with household chores during their menstruation. It’s changing communities.”

Team work really does make the dream work.
The alliance has a total of eight partners, NGO’s and social ventures, and the program brought a new way of collaborating for the local partners. To make it successful the three Dutch partners invested a lot in bringing and keeping all partners together. Where initially the local partners showed hesitation to share knowledge, they now work as a team and see that they can create synergy which benefits all involved in the program.

Making it a sustainable program
The program started two years ago with financial support of the Dutch National Postcode Lottery and has duration of three years, which means it is now in its final year. After the field visit, all partners worked for two days in Patna on developing a joint exit strategy to ensure a sustainable program. The partners will continue tweaking the plan which should be final by March 2017.

@picture: alliance partners at one of the villages