In the past three years, Women on Wings and its program partners Simavi and Rutgers have been working on a successful ‘Making Periods Normal’ program in Bihar. Recently, an exit meeting was held in Bihar with all program partners, where it was shared that quite a number of goals were exceeded. For instance, the target of reaching 165,000 women and girls having access to pads is far over accomplished.
Joint goal overcomes differences
Adrianne Jonquière-Breure, Sanitary Pads Program Manager at Women on Wings: “This program came with a few challenges. First of all we had to find the right partners in India. We are proud and happy to have found Dharma Life, a social enterprise with which we have a great mutual understanding. Secondly, the many partners had very different organizational cultures. It took time, open minds and a few well organized workshops by Women on Wings experts to get us where we are today. Together we are really able to make a difference.”
Employment opportunities for women
The program aimed to improve the situation in India regarding menstruation and availability of sanitary pads. To do so the three program partners joined hands with Indian implementing partners; NGO’s like Restless Development, BVHA, SEWA and Pratham. Women on Wings’ implementing partner Dharma Life was responsible for the training and coaching of female entrepreneurs in sales and distribution of sanitary pads in villages in two districts in Bihar. These so-called Dharma Life Entrepreneurs (DLE’s) were recruited from the villages and sold the sanitary pads from a social basket which also included products like soap and solar lights. Dharma Life reached its primary goal of recruiting 815 DLE’s.
Women on Wings looks back at a great experience running the three year program. The partners intend to replicate the model. Dharma Life set up a Knowledge Centre that will facilitate the partners in replicating and scaling the model. This also works as a window to other parties to see the potential of a program and partnership like this one. Dharma Life has been able to develop a monitoring system that gives them consumer information at the last mile. For the creation of rural entrepreneurs, this is vital information. And maybe the most warming part of the program is that the DLE’s are not just selling pads, they are role models for all women and girls in the villages.