In 2015, Simavi, Rutgers and Women on Wings launched 1WEEKEXTRA: a Dutch campaign to raise awareness for our joint ‘Making Periods Normal’ programme in India.
With this campaign the three partners asked girls and women in the Netherlands to consider ‘what would you do with 1 week extra?’, referring to the one week every month that many Indian girls and women are often not able to participate in daily life duringtheir period. For example, 23% of girls do not attend school during menstruation due to lack of facilities and materials. With ‘Making Periods Normal’, we aim to enable girls and women in India to go to school, go to work and be empowered to enjoy equal chances for self-development and a normal life for four weeks a month instead of three.
Results after one year
The campaign received a lot of attention in the Netherlands and resulted in many positive and enthusiastic responses. One year after its launch, we’re proud to share the first results of programme and discuss the difference that we were able to make for the girls and women in rural India.
The intervention areas are located in Munger and Bhagalpur, two districts in the state of Bihar, northern India. Knowledge about menstrual hygiene and wider availability of sanitary pads will. make a substantial difference to the daily lives and futures of these girls and women.
Thanks to training and information sessions in schools and communities, we have increased the menstrual hygiene knowledge of 278,000 men and women in the two districts. These people are now aware of the importance of menstrual hygiene, the risks of poor menstrual hygiene and how to achieve better menstrual hygiene.
In addition, thanks to a network of local female entrepreneurs, 35,000 girls and women now have access to good quality, affordable sanitary napkins. Not only does this network build a healthier future for these women with the sanitary pads, it creates jobs for women too.
The way forward
Together with Rutgers and Women on Wings, Simavi continues to work on realising the targets of this joint programme. The ultimate goal of the programme in India is to inform 660,000 girls and women in Bihar to realise better menstrual hygiene, give access to 165,000 girls and women to affordable sanitary pads via a local distribution network with female entrepreneurs, give 815 women work in that network and raise awareness among 200,000 boys and men about the importance of menstruation and menstrual hygiene.