The Ritu programme aimed at improving menstrual health of girls in Bangladesh. In a period of four years, Simavi, RedOrange and TNO, worked with BNPS and DORP, towards improved menstrual health of girls in Bangladesh. This report showcases our results, including a selection of data from the randomized controlled trial (RCT) that shows the positive impact of the Ritu programme on girls’ menstrual health. At the same time, we provide details on our approaches, reflections and our key lessons learned. We feel that it’s important to be transparent and open, so that these lessons are available for others too. We hope to inspire donors and organisations to invest in menstrual health.
July 31st, 2020, marks the 95th anniversary of Simavi. For almost a century we have been working for a healthy and equal world. Our mission has never changed, but through the years our focus shifted, and as an organisation we have developed. Now we work towards a healthy life for women and girls in Africa and Asia.
Ms Shefalika Tripura is the executive director of the Khagrapur Mahila Kalyan Samity - Association for wellbeing of women in Khagrapur (KMKS) organisation in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh. KMKS is a women-led, women’s rights organisation that works with Simavi in the Our Lives, Our Health, Our Futures programme funded by the European Union.
COVID-19 and the related measures such as lock-downs will disproportionally affect women and have an impact on gender equality and the fulfilment of women’s rights. Our Theory of Change and expertise areas enable us to respond effectively to COVID-19 and the impact on women’s right to health.
In a joint appeal, Simavi and over forty development, human rights and emergency aid organisations argue that support for developing countries and civil society organisations in those countries should be part of the Dutch government’s emergency measures to combat COVID-19. We are concerned about the lack of international coordination and solidarity in combating the corona crisis. Although most developing countries are currently only at the beginning of the pandemic, most do not have a high-quality health care system. In addition, measures in some countries threaten to work against people and increase existing inequalities.
The restrictions we face have a huge impact on our programmes, which are mostly built around group meetings and community interactions, and most activities have been put on hold whilst at the same time we are reviewing and adapting to the new situation.
The film – directed by Jerry de Mars - depicts a reality of a world that for us seems fictional. Confronted by the poverty and gender-inequality that haunt our golden jewellery, viewers are persuaded to ask the same questions about the origin of our gold as that we ask about our coffee and chocolate.
In 2016, Simavi joined forces with TNO and various other partners to form Ritu: a public/private partnership aimed at improving menstrual health and awareness in Bangladesh. As the programme draws to a close, all participants agree: the programme achieved incredible results in its short existence and the lessons learned and partnerships formed are certain to have a long-lasting effect on everyone involved. Read more about Ritu