Period poverty, the lack of access to menstrual hygiene products and resources, is a global issue affecting millions of women and girls. It hampers their education, health and dignity. However, numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are leading the charge in addressing period poverty, working tirelessly to provide menstrual hygiene products, education and support to those in need. This article will highlight the remarkable efforts of NGOs fighting period poverty, showcasing their innovative approaches and inspiring impact.
5 NGOs Fighting Period Poverty
- The Pad Project – The Pad Project is a global nonprofit organization focused on breaking the barriers of period poverty. It tackles the issue by establishing sustainable pad-making businesses in communities where access to affordable menstrual products is limited. To date, it has employed 87 women in five countries, Afghanistan, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Through its documentary “Period. End of Sentence.” and grassroots initiatives, it raises awareness, advocates for policy changes and empowers women with economic opportunities. It has also reached more than 106,500 women and girls through menstrual health education workshops.
- Days for Girls International – Days for Girls International is another organization fighting period poverty. It focuses on ensuring that women and girls have access to sustainable menstrual hygiene solutions. It produces and distributes washable, reusable menstrual kits that include cloth pads and soap, promoting environmentally friendly options. The organization also conducts menstrual health education programs to debunk myths, provide accurate information and empower girls to manage their periods with confidence. It began in Kenya but has reached several more countries in Africa and now operates globally. In its 2021 report, Days for Girls reported that it has reached 2.5 million women and girls in 145 countries with its menstrual kits and education.
- Femme International – Femme International focuses on menstrual health and hygiene education in Tanzania and Kenya. Through the Twaweza Program, which means ‘we can’ in Swahili, the organization deliver workshops and training sessions to address the lack of knowledge and break the stigma surrounding menstruation. Femme International also distributes reusable menstrual pads and offers support networks to girls and women, enabling them to maintain their health, dignity and uninterrupted access to education. Thanks to its efforts, 71.8% of schoolgirls in the program reported that they did not miss out on any parts of their lives as a result of menstruation.
- ZanaAfrica Foundation – ZanaAfrica Foundation focuses on menstrual health management and the empowerment of girls in Kenya. It provides adolescent girls with access to sanitary pads, along with comprehensive reproductive health education. Since 2013, ZanaAfrica has supported more than 50,000 girls by providing necessary menstrual health and hygiene products.
- Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) – Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) is another organization fighting period poverty. In Rwanda, 18% of women and girls report missing school or work because they cannot afford to buy period products. SHE operates by empowering women to produce and distribute affordable, eco-friendly menstrual pads made from locally sourced materials. SHE focuses on creating economic opportunities for women while addressing the lack of access to menstrual products and health education. Over 60,000 girls and women now have access to SHE’s period products.
Breaking the Silence
Across the globe, NGOs are fighting period poverty. Through their initiatives, these organizations are breaking the silence, addressing the lack of access to menstrual hygiene products and empowering women and girls to manage their periods with dignity and confidence. By combining advocacy, education and sustainable solutions, these NGOs are making a significant impact and paving the way for a world where period poverty is a thing of the past.
– Eva O’Donovan