Menstrual Health is important for the well-being of menstruators, half of their life goes in menstruating so it’s important to have safe and healthy periods. Menstrual health is not just physical but it also affects the individual’s mental and social health. Menstruators need proper guidance and education as the absence of this may lead to poor practices, causing health related complications. Another issue faced by menstruators is superstitions and taboos associated with menstruation and their own family and peers treating them as outcasts during periods. The reason behind this is lack of information and understanding of menstruation. This is also one of the leading causes of school dropouts amongst girls.
Saral Designs Menstrual Health Management (MHM) project was designed to provide safe menstrual hygiene products to the ‘last mile’ (even to the most hard to reach areas), key objectives of this program are providing safe and affordable options for menstrual hygiene, generating awareness about menstrual health and providing education on the risks related to poor menstrual hygiene.
In Saral Designs this program is headed by Manglika Tripathi, she is the Resource Mobilization and Partnership Manager, she has a vast experience of working in public health and Social and Behavioural Change Communication. In order to bring in the change in society and make the life of menstruators easy, a systematic change is needed that includes social and behavioural change in the community. Saral Design’s aim is to not only provide solutions for menstrual hygiene but also bring in systems change in the society. To achieve this goal Saral starts with a need assessment study to identify the knowledge, attitude and practices of menstruators in the desired community; they are planning to implement the project.
So far the MHM project has created a good impact by providing livelihood to women by pad sales, giving safe hygiene options to menstruators and educating the community on menstruation. Saral Designs understood that only creating need is not enough, there is also need to give the solutions to people’s doorstep, as data shows most menstruators hesitate in buying pads and other hygiene products at shops which is one of the key reasons for low use of hygiene products. Keeping this in mind Sangini program was born, which gives opportunity to menstruators in the community to earn by doing door-to-door sales of Saral’s Active sanitary pads.
Saral Designs started this project with help of Grand Challenges Canada in 2018, and worked in 6 different geographies in India with support from Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) and 4 municipalities in Nepal with support from Millennium Alliance (MA) (USAID, DFID, FICCI supported program).
In the last 3 years, a total of 38,778 menstruators were reached through MHM programs, trained and helped 1500 Sanginis under the Sangini program and have improved the life of a total 8581 people through our school training and community campaign interventions. In total Saral has oriented 61.36% girls through school programs and 24% girls and women through community awareness.
Recently Saral has started a project in Patna Bihar in collaboration with Patna Municipal Corporation, UNFPA and Diksha Foundation, under this project 3 packaging units were established in slums of Patna, 53 Sanginis were identified and trained for door-to-door sales of pads, 241 menstruators were given awareness on menstrual health and 15 women were trained and employed for packaging of pads in the packaging units. With this project the aim is to provide menstrual hygiene products to menstruators in urban slums of Patna, this project is a part of Bihar Governments ‘Patna Smart City Project’.
Saral Designs is making an ardent effort through the MHM project to support and provide a safe haven for menstruators who are still suffering due to poor menstrual practices at the same time Saral wants to empower these menstruators by giving them earning opportunities.